Geriatric Mental Health and COVID-19: An Eye-Opener to the Situation of the Arab Countries in the Middle East and North Africa Region



El Hayek S, Cheaito MA, Nofal M, Abdelrahman D, Adra A, Al Shamli S, AlHarthi M, AlNuaimi N, Aroui C, Bensid L, Emberish AM, Larnaout A, Radwan A, Slaih M, Al Sinawi H.


Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Oct;28(10):1058-1069. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.05.009. Epub 2020 May 18.


While the detrimental ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental wellbeing of the general public continue to unravel, older adults seem to be at high risk. As the geriatric population continues to grow in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, it is essential to explore the influence of this outbreak on geriatric mental health, a topic often neglected. In this review, we depict the status of geriatric psychiatry in the Arab countries of the MENA region, exploring the variations from one nation to another. While some have a null exposure to the field, resources and expertise in other countries range from very limited to extensive. Furthermore, we highlight the measures implemented in the Arab region to address mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak; these tend to be insufficient when targeting the geriatric population. Finally, we provide short- and long-term recommendations to stakeholders that aim at enhancing the mental healthcare of older adults in the Arab countries of the MENA region, particularly during this pandemic. CI – © 2020 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Link/DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.05.009