Mental Health in Times of Crisis: New Trends in Diagnosis and Treatment

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Factors and Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2024 | Viewed by 5099

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Social Work Department and Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Enhancement of Quality of Life, School of Health Sciences, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Interests: aging; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; psychological consequences (e.g., trauma, stress, mental disorders, etc.) caused by crises (health, economic, social, etc., e.g., COVID-19, war, earthquake etc.) and coping; interpersonal relationships; social networks/ social capital; aggression and violence (domestic, social etc.); social networks and misuse; positive psychology (resilience, well-being, etc.)
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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece
Interests: mental disorders/psychopathology; psychotherapy process and outcome; wellbeing; positive psychology; mental health prevention; psychodynamic psychotherapy; cross-cultural psychology; addictions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Various current global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate change, the economic crisis, and refugee crisis, comprise additional risk factors for developing mental health problems or deteriorating pre-existing ones, with potentially long-term effects on both the individual and community level. Global collaboration on giving prominence to emerging mental health needs during the current crises and new trends in assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and psychosocial care are urgently needed.

This Special Issue seeks to publish innovative studies (original investigations, review articles, and short papers) in relation to people’s mental health and well-being during current crises. Studies may include, but are not limited to, the investigation of the risk and protective factors, new diagnostic and treatment approaches, technological advances in clinical research and practice, proactive strategies, specialized mental health interventions, and innovative good practices that increase resilience and post-traumatic growth and promote mental health and well-being. Papers on specific populations such as healthcare workers, users of mental healthcare services, older people, people with disabilities, minorities, refugees, and immigrants are also welcome.

Dr. Argyroula Kalaitzaki
Dr. Vasiliki Yotsidi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mental disorders
  • mental health
  • well-being
  • resilience
  • post-traumatic growth
  • crisis intervention
  • global crises
  • online mental health services
  • telehealth
  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • clinical community psychology

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 603 KiB  
Article
The Silver Lining of Posttraumatic Growth around the Dark Side of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A School-Based Intervention with Mindfulness and Character Strengths Practices among Children
by Alexandra Tamiolaki, Argyroula Kalaitzaki, Maria Papadakaki and Elias Kourkoutas
Healthcare 2024, 12(2), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12020283 - 22 Jan 2024
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Abstract
The theory of posttraumatic growth (PTG) proposes that from life difficulties positive changes can happen, such as deepened personal relationships and an awareness of new possibilities in life. PTG can occur naturally or can be facilitated. This study aimed to promote PTG through [...] Read more.
The theory of posttraumatic growth (PTG) proposes that from life difficulties positive changes can happen, such as deepened personal relationships and an awareness of new possibilities in life. PTG can occur naturally or can be facilitated. This study aimed to promote PTG through a school-based intervention of eight sessions of 45 min each with mindfulness and character strengths practices (the so-called “The exploration of happiness during the COVID-19 pandemic”). The study conducted assessments at baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up (i.e., one month after the intervention). The post-intervention results showed that the participants in the intervention group experienced an improvement in PTG, well-being, mindfulness, strengths use, and PTS symptoms compared to the children in the control group. Furthermore, these positive changes were sustained at follow-up. The findings of this study highlight that mindfulness-based strengths practices can increase positive outcomes (i.e., well-being, posttraumatic growth) and reduce negative psychological symptoms (PTS) among children. The implications for theory and practice are discussed, and detailed appendices for practitioners are provided. Full article
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11 pages, 233 KiB  
Article
Empathy and Violence in Schizophrenia and Antisocial Personality Disorder
by Konstantinos Tasios, Athanasios Douzenis, Rossetos Gournellis and Ioannis Michopoulos
Healthcare 2024, 12(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12010089 - 30 Dec 2023
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Abstract
A paucity of cognitive and affective features of empathy can be correlated with violent behavior. We aimed to identify differences in empathy among four groups in a sample of 100 male participants: (1) 27 violent offenders with schizophrenia, (2) 23 nonviolent patients with [...] Read more.
A paucity of cognitive and affective features of empathy can be correlated with violent behavior. We aimed to identify differences in empathy among four groups in a sample of 100 male participants: (1) 27 violent offenders with schizophrenia, (2) 23 nonviolent patients with schizophrenia, (3) 25 patients with antisocial personality disorder, and (4) 25 subjects from the general population, who formed the control group. Schizophrenia symptoms were quantified with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Empathy was measured with the empathy quotient. Theory of mind was evaluated using (a) the first-order false-belief task, (b) the hinting task, (c) the faux pas recognition test and (d) the “reading the mind in the eyes” test (revised). Differences noted among the groups were age (controls were younger) and educational status (antisocials were less educated). The empathy quotient scoring (p < 0.001) and theory-of-mind tests (p < 0.001) were distinct between the control group and the three other groups of participants, but not among the three patient groups. Patients with antisocial personality disorder, violent psychotic offenders and psychotic nonviolent patients show no remarkable differences in affective or cognitive empathy tests, but they all present deficits in empathy and theory of mind when compared to controls. Full article
16 pages, 477 KiB  
Article
Group Belonging and Social Identities in the Transition of Asylum-Seekers in Greece: Longitudinal Pathways to Adjustment
by Angelos Panagiotopoulos and Vassilis Pavlopoulos
Healthcare 2024, 12(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12010055 - 26 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Millions of forced migrants settling in host countries often struggle to adjust to their new life. As their inclusion and adjustment within receiving societies has become a global social challenge, studying the factors that support their successful transition is an important topic of [...] Read more.
Millions of forced migrants settling in host countries often struggle to adjust to their new life. As their inclusion and adjustment within receiving societies has become a global social challenge, studying the factors that support their successful transition is an important topic of research inquiry. The present three-wave longitudinal study examined the role of group belonging and social identification in facilitating the transition of 60 sub-Saharan African asylum-seekers to Greece. Drawing upon the Social Identity Model of Identity Change (SIMIC), we investigated how multiple group memberships before migration, social identity continuity, and social identity gain related to their adjustment over 8 months. On the between-person level, multiple group belonging before migration indirectly contributed to better person-average levels of sociocultural adjustment, physical health functioning and satisfaction, psychological distress, and life satisfaction, by way of higher person-average levels of social identity continuity and/or social identity gain. However, multiple groups before migration also had a direct negative effect on the overall levels of psychological distress. On the within-person level, positive changes in social identity continuity and gain were related to positive changes in different adjustment-related outcomes over time. Our findings are consistent with SIMIC and highlight the importance of group belonging and associated social identities in forced migrants’ transition, in ways that may pave the way for the development of social identity interventions to promote their health, well-being, and successful integration. Future longitudinal and experimental evidence with larger and more diverse samples of forced migrants is needed to establish the generalizability and causality of the observed associations. Full article
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Review

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20 pages, 759 KiB  
Review
Psychotherapeutic and Psychosocial Interventions with Unaccompanied Minors: A Scoping Review
by Irene Moutsou, Eugenie Georgaca and Theofilos Varaklis
Healthcare 2023, 11(6), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11060918 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1978
Abstract
Unaccompanied minors (UAMs) are considered a particularly vulnerable population, facing severe threats regarding their physical and mental health. As their number has increased in recent years worldwide, research on mental health interventions has become necessary. The implementation of psychotherapeutic interventions has been documented, [...] Read more.
Unaccompanied minors (UAMs) are considered a particularly vulnerable population, facing severe threats regarding their physical and mental health. As their number has increased in recent years worldwide, research on mental health interventions has become necessary. The implementation of psychotherapeutic interventions has been documented, but psychosocial interventions seem to not have been consistently studied. In this review, we summarize the psychotherapeutic and psychosocial interventions with UAMs that have been studied up to now. Following the PRISMA guidelines for scoping reviews, we searched four databases and included studies and practice papers; there were no restrictions on publication date, geographical region, language, or method. We identified 46 studies on psychotherapeutic interventions and 16 studies on psychosocial interventions that met the inclusion criteria. Psychotherapeutic interventions were mainly based on cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic, narrative, art and transcultural approaches and aimed at improving UAMs’ trauma, mental health and wellbeing, as well as professionals’ skills and therapeutic protocols. Several studies showed promising results, with the cognitive behavioural approaches being the most researched. However, more research is needed in order to draw conclusions in terms of effectiveness. Psychosocial interventions followed various approaches and aimed at UAMs’ empowerment, wellbeing, support and integration, as well as at improving caregivers’ skills. Nonetheless, they seem not only very heterogeneous but also understudied, and we believe that a focus on them would be very useful. Methodological limitations and their implications for future research are discussed. Full article
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