The effects of COVID-19 on European healthcare provision for working-age adults with major depressive disorder

Win Lee Edwin Wong, Dilveer Sually, Diego Hidalgo-Mazzei, Vinciane Quoidbach, Judit Simon, Patrice Boyer, Becci Strawbridge, Allan Young

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


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 prespecified 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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2023


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