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BackgroundThe coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has seen a global surge in anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and stress.AimsThis study aimed to describe the perspectives of patients with COVID-19, their family, health professionals, and the general public on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.MethodsA secondary thematic analysis was conducted using data from the COVID-19 COS project. We extracted data on the perceived causes and impact of COVID-19 on mental health from an international survey and seven online consensus workshops.ResultsWe identified four themes (with subthemes in parenthesis): anxiety amidst uncertainty (always on high alert, ebb and flow of recovery); anguish of a threatened future (intense frustration of a changed normality, facing loss of livelihood, trauma of ventilation, a troubling prognosis, confronting death); bearing responsibility for transmission (fear of spreading COVID-19 in public; overwhelming guilt of infecting a loved one); and suffering in isolation (severe solitude of quarantine, sick and alone, separation exacerbating grief).ConclusionWe found that the unpredictability of COVID-19, the fear of long-term health consequences, burden of guilt, and suffering in isolation profoundly impacted mental health. Clinical and public health interventions are needed to manage the psychological consequences arising from this pandemic.

Original publication





Journal of mental health (Abingdon, England)

Publication Date





524 - 533


Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.


Humans, Depression, Anxiety, Family, Mental Health, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2