COVID-19 and its Impact on Mental Health Services

This project examines the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare services for mentally ill populations, from the perspective of a service provider.

While the impact of COVID-19 on mentally ill populations has been in focus recently, few studies examine the impact on service adaptations to ensure continuity of care. In India, where community-based mental healthcare is led by non-government organisations (NGOs), this is a crucial time to gather evidence on how these organisations have adapted care services. This research study explores how mental health issues in the aftermath of the COVID-19 have been an area of increasing concern for public health, second only to the containment of the pandemic itself.

This exploratory study was done in collaboration with the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) India, using in-depth interviews and focused group discussions to understand the impact of the pandemic on services provided by SCARF. Participants were selected using purposive sampling from across the different types of services mapped initially from outpatient and in-patient clinical services, residential services, community outreach, psycho-social rehabilitation including family interventions, research & training.

The study establishes a need to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the spectrum of mental health care services. Particularly, from a service provider perspective, the study will help build a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by health personnel in providing continuity of care and building greater resilience in systems responding to the care of mentally ill and vulnerable populations. Results are forthcoming.

Thematic area


Project Leads

Sapna Nair, Padmavati R


Tamil Nadu


SCARF India, India-Oxford Initiative (InDoX)