The effects of COVID-19 on European healthcare provision for working-age adults with major depressive disorder.
Wong WLE., Sually D., Hidalgo-Mazzei D., Quoidbach V., Simon J., Boyer P., Strawbridge R., Young AH.
BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and yet delivery of care for this illness is rife with gaps. The COVID-19 pandemic has had far reaching implications for every facet of healthcare, and MDD is no exception. This scoping review aimed to ascertain the impacts of COVID-19 on the delivery of MDD care in Europe, as well as to evaluate any novel MDD care strategies trialled in this period. METHODS: We searched the PubMed and PsycINFO databases up to January 2022 with a strategy centred around COVID-19 and MDD. Full texts of eligible studies examining working-age adults and conducted in Europe were evaluated against several criteria. All outcomes were then extracted and a narrative synthesis was constructed to summarise identified themes. RESULTS: Of 1,744 records identified in our search, 11 articles were eligible for inclusion in the review. In general, these studies reported a decrease in treatment rates, access to care, and perceived access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, digital interventions trialled during the pandemic were broadly well-received by users, though their efficacy in improving MDD care was ambiguous. CONCLUSIONS: Despite a limited number of pertinent studies, this scoping review identified a trend of exacerbated treatment gaps in MDD care during the pandemic. Several of our pre-specified gaps, including delays to detection or treatment of depression and rates of follow-up contacts, remained unexplored in the context of COVID-19. This highlights the need for further investigation to obtain a full understanding of the relationship between COVID-19 and MDD care in Europe.