In January 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus
disease, COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated that
there is a high risk of COVID-19 spreading to other countries around the world. In March 2020,
WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.
WHO and public health authorities around the world are acting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, this time of crisis is generating stress throughout the population. The considerations
presented in this document have been developed by the WHO Department of Mental Health and
Substance Use as a series of messages that can be used in communications to support mental and
psychosocial well-being in different target groups during the outbreak.
WHO – Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak