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Minerva Psychiatry 2022 June;63(2):89-98

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6612.22.02331-4


language: English

Shielding families’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: a review across the UK and Italy

Aluette MERENDA , Maria GARRO

Department of Psychology, Educational Science and Human Movement, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

As communities have gone into lockdown to stop the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mass efforts to save lives has put some people more at risk than others, and in their own homes. Starting with a comparison between Italy and the UK, this review examines the impact of pandemic measures for those shielding families who are affected by abusive relationships and those who, with health and social care needs, are considered at high risk of serious consequences if they are exposed to COVID-19 measures. Focusing on an increased number of DV cases reported, we explore the impact of pandemic measures on vulnerable people and families through a review on this topic, that comprises early research findings from initial web-based surveys, and subsequent online surveys, about life, health and wellbeing, and daily activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings show information on changes and disruptions experienced during lockdown by people lived across the UK and Italy, even if they were not nationally representative samples. The majority of results reports income changes, mostly decreased during the lockdown, as well as educational/employment activities changes. Significant gendered effects of the epidemic have pointed out adverse impacts of lockdowns, globally, on women. Moreover, of those receiving ongoing healthcare, most of all reported that it had been disrupted; especially women and young people, with previous mental health problems, were more likely to report disruptions to their care and services. Overall, a comparison between the two different countries and their community services highlights how lockdown has resulted in a reduction of available support for vulnerable people, while many others have experienced significant changes in how this care is provided. As results showed, modifiable psychological variables play a significant role in predicting distress, and indicated that emotional distress interventions might be helpful to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially within shielding people.

KEY WORDS: COVID-19; Pandemics; Mental health service

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