The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects globally, including in the Asia-Pacific Region. The mental health effects of COVID-19 are expected to be profound, with the need for enhanced and targeted mental health care identified as urgent from the beginning of the outbreak. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 are still emerging and will become increasingly apparent as the longer-term impacts of the pandemic reverberate among populations. Vulnerable populations are at a higher risk of experiencing negative mental health effects without adequate access to care.
Digital technology has previously been recognized as having great potential to address gaps in access to evidence-based mental health care and there have been calls to increase the use of digital mental health in the context of COVID-19. Though digital mental health may improve access, there are also risks that it might exacerbate inequities in access to care among high-risk populations who may face poorer digital resources or other barriers. Equity-oriented research is needed to identify needs and gaps to equitable digital health care delivery.
The APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health, hosted in Canada, is a network of stakeholders representing researchers, healthcare providers, policy makers and people with lived experience (PWLE) from across the region. The Living Review hosted on this website is part of a project lead by the Digital Hub’s Disaster Resilience and Trauma Working Group as a response to mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overall goal of the project is to conduct knowledge synthesis and mobilization to support planning and implementation of digital mental health initiatives with an emphasis on access by high-risk populations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across the APEC region.
The Living Review hosted on this website builds on our initial knowledge synthesis based on evidence published between January to July 2020 which focused on mental health care needs and gaps of at-risk populations in the Asia-Pacific region in the context of COVID-19.
The purpose of this Living Review is to provide monthly updates on new evidence on digital or virtual mental health care for at-risk groups in the context of COVID-19.
A comprehensive search strategy will be used to compile and screen evidence on a monthly basis from the following English-language databases: OVID-medline, EMBASE, PsychInfo and Google Scholar and through snowballing.
The inclusion criteria includes English-language papers that are full-text and related to COVID-19, digital or tele-mental health and at-risk groups.