Psychological impact of the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, what have we learned? A systematic review
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Faculty of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Academy of Science and Engineering for Africa Development, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Faculty of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, Ottawa, Canada
University of Bergen, Centre for International Health, Bergen, Norway
Department of Neurology, Kinshasa University Hospital, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A317
Background and objectives: As in previous pandemics, the COVID-19 outbreak has been inflicting different mental disorders upon people. As it was a question of a new virus, research had to be carried out to promptly react to this global crisis. Significant effects of COVID in its earlier stage such as high mortality, speed of transmission, no cure had led to a novel psychological pandemic that made the COVID-19 pandemic management more difficult. The Objective of this systematic review is to explore the global view of the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in its earlier stage.  Methods: A systematic search of PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar databases was performed up to June 20, 2020. Three authors evaluated full-text articles regarding predefined criteria. We utilized a modified version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for observational studies to assess the risk of bias. The review protocol is registered and available online in PROSPERO. Findings: This systematic review included participants from all over the world except Africa and Oceania. Fifty-four descriptive studies were included in the review. Overall, the analysis from this review suggested that there is a lack of sufficient robust evidence to confirm the association between the COVID-19 pandemic and mental impact. However, most of the studies pleaded for the assumption that the pandemic affected the mental health of the population throughout the world.  Conclusions: Governments and decision-makers are required to respond promptly to any eventual outbreak to ensure the populations mental health well-being through some strategic planning and prevention.  Keywords: systematic review, COVID-19, mental health, psychological impact, psychological symptoms