Changes in Mental Health Needs during COVID-19 in the Republic of Georgia: A Longitudinal Follow-up Study
Nino Makhashvili1, *, Ketevan Pilauri2, Amy Mulick3, Jana Darejan Javakhishvili4, Lela Sturua5, Daniela C. Fuhr6, Bayard Roberts6
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2022
E-location ID: e174501792208100
Publisher ID: e174501792208100
Article History:Received Date: 15/10/2021
Revision Received Date: 26/1/2022
Acceptance Date: 23/2/2022
Electronic publication date: 01/12/2022
Collection year: 2022
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
To examine changes in COVID-19 stressors and symptoms of mental disorders in the Republic of Georgia.
A longitudinal design was used. Following on from our study of May-June 2020, this follow-up study in January-March 2021 was conducted at: (i)an individual level with the same respondents involved in the May-June 2020 study (repeat responders/cohort); and (ii) at a population-wide level, using non-probabilistic sampling. Questionnaire sections covered: (i)demographic, socio-economic characteristics; (ii)level of burden caused by COVID-19-related stressors/concern; and (iii)symptoms of anxiety(GAD-7), depression(PHQ-9), PTSD(ITQ), adjustment disorder(ADNM8). Descriptive and multivariable regression analyses were conducted.
Among population-level survey respondents(N=1195), the probability of reporting mental ill health symptoms increased in 2021 compared to 2020 for PTSD(OR1.82), depression(OR1.40), adjustment disorder(OR 1.80), and marginally for anxiety(OR1.17). For the individual repeat respondents(N=455), the probability increased for depression(OR1.88) and adjustment disorder(OR2.56). The perceived burden of pandemic concern worsened in 2021 compared to 2020 for almost all stressors, particularly around access to health care, infecting others, and conflict in the home. PTSD was associated with an increased concern score from 2020 to 2021.
Our study highlights the need to strengthen response strategies to address the elevated mental health needs related to COVID-19 in Georgia. It recommends increasing accessibility of early interventions and the need to modernise mental health services to strengthen access to care. It also calls for monitoring patterns of mental health disorders for better understanding and responses to mental health needs in Georgia.