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The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical DistancingThe Need for Prevention and Early Intervention

Educational Objective
To understand how physical distancing can affect the mental health of patients
1 Credit CME

Since the first case of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was diagnosed in December 2019, it has swept across the world and galvanized global action. This has brought unprecedented efforts to institute the practice of physical distancing (called in most cases “social distancing”) in countries all over the world, resulting in changes in national behavioral patterns and shutdowns of usual day-to-day functioning.

While these steps may be critical to mitigate the spread of this disease, they will undoubtedly have consequences for mental health and well-being in both the short and long term. These consequences are of sufficient importance that immediate efforts focused on prevention and direct intervention are needed to address the impact of the outbreak on individual and population level mental health.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Sandro Galea, MD, Office of the Dean, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany St, Talbot 301, Boston, MA 02118 (sgalea@bu.edu).

Published Online: April 10, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1562

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
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