Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Over the last few decades, 3 pathogenic pandemics have impacted the global population; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and SARS-CoV-2. The global disease burden has attributed to millions of deaths and morbidities, with the majority being attributed to SARS-CoV-2. As such, the evaluation of the mental health (MH) impact across healthcare professionals (HCPs), patients and the general public would be an important facet to evaluate to better understand short, medium and long-term exposures. AIM: To identify and report: (1) MH conditions commonly observed across all 3 pandemics; (2) Impact of MH outcomes across HCPs, patients and the general public associated with all 3 pandemics; and (3) The prevalence of the MH impact and clinical epidemiological significance. METHODS: A systematic methodology was developed and published on PROSPERO (CRD42021228697). The databases PubMed, EMBASE, ScienceDirect and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were used as part of the data extraction process, and publications from January 1, 1990 to August 1, 2021 were searched. MeSH terms and keywords used included Mood disorders, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Psychological stress, Psychosis, Bipolar, Mental Health, Unipolar, Self-harm, BAME, Psychiatry disorders and Psychological distress. The terms were expanded with a 'snowballing' method. Cox-regression and the Monte-Carlo simulation method was used in addition to I 2 and Egger's tests to determine heterogeneity and publication bias. RESULTS: In comparison to MERS and SARS-CoV, it is evident SAR-CoV-2 has an ongoing MH impact, with emphasis on depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. CONCLUSION: It was evident MH studies during MERS and SARS-CoV was limited in comparison to SARS-CoV-2, with much emphasis on reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and sleep disturbances. The lack of comprehensive studies conducted during previous pandemics have introduced limitations to the "know-how" for clinicians and researchers to better support patients and deliver care with limited healthcare resources.

Original publication




Journal article


World J Psychiatry

Publication Date





739 - 765


COVID-19, Healthcare professionals, Mental health, Middle East respiratory syndrome, Outbreaks and pandemics, Patients, Physical health, Psychiatry, Public health, SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, Wellbeing