Supporting the vulnerable: developing a strategic community mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic [2020]

Objectives:
The COVID-19 pandemic poses significant risks to the vulnerable patient population supported by community mental health (CMH) teams in South Australia. This paper describes a plan developed to understand and mitigate these risks.

Methods:
Public health and psychiatric literature was reviewed and clinicians in CMH teams and infectious disease were consulted. Key risks posed by COVID-19 to CMH patients were identified and mitigation plans were prepared.

Results:
A public health response plan for CMH teams was developed to support vulnerable individuals and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan will be reviewed regularly to respond to changes in public health recommendations, research findings and feedback from patients and clinicians.

Conclusions:
The strategic response plan developed to address risks to vulnerable patients from COVID-19 can assist other CMH services in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sumana Thomson, Trung Doan, Dennis Liu, Klaus Oliver Schubert, Julian Toh, Mark A Boyd, Cherrie Galletly
Australasian Psychiatry, July 30, 2020
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