A ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Opportunity to Improve Mental Health Care

By Lindsay Key, School of Medicine Communications

P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, doesn’t have to look far to see the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on mental health, especially in the most vulnerable populations: in his Durham, North Carolina, research clinic, he works closely with adult and elderly patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and early dementia, many of whom have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. 

Since the onset of COVID-19, said Doraiswamy, “there’s probably been a threefold increase in anxiety and stress, especially in some segments of society,” with senior adults, children, people from low-income backgrounds, and people living alone experiencing the sharpest rise. “In some ways, I would call COVID-19 the greatest psychological stressor of our time,” he said. 

Doraiswamy has been at the forefront of the global mental health response to the pandemic in his role as the co-chair of the prestigious World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Mental Health. The Council, comprising some of the world’s foremost thought leaders from academia, government, business, and civil society, is leading efforts to promote novel public-private initiatives to enhance mental health and resilience.

Read the full article in Magnify, the Duke School of Medicine's online magazine.