Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(10):1732-1738. doi:10.7150/ijbs.45120 This issue


Progression of Mental Health Services during the COVID-19 Outbreak in China

Wen Li1,2*, Yuan Yang1,2,3*, Zi-Han Liu1,2*, Yan-Jie Zhao1,2*, Qinge Zhang4*, Ling Zhang4*, Teris Cheung5, Yu-Tao Xiang1,2*✉

1. Unit of Psychiatry, Institute of Translational Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Macao SAR, China;
2. Center for Cognition and Brain Sciences, University of Macau, Macao SAR, China;
3. Department of Psychiatry, Southern Medical University Nanfang Hospital & Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Center for Brian Science and Brain-Inspired Intelligence, Guangdong, China;
4. The National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders & Beijing Key Laboratory of Mental Disorders, Beijing Anding Hospital & the Advanced Innovation Center for Human Brain Protection, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China;
5. School of Nursing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, China
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Li W, Yang Y, Liu ZH, Zhao YJ, Zhang Q, Zhang L, Cheung T, Xiang YT. Progression of Mental Health Services during the COVID-19 Outbreak in China. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(10):1732-1738. doi:10.7150/ijbs.45120. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been rapidly transmitted in China, Macau, Hong Kong, and other Asian and European counterparts. This COVID-19 epidemic has aroused increasing attention nationwide. Patients, health professionals, and the general public are under insurmountable psychological pressure which may lead to various psychological problems, such as anxiety, fear, depression, and insomnia. Psychological crisis intervention plays a pivotal role in the overall deployment of the disease control. The National Health Commission of China has summoned a call for emergency psychological crisis intervention and thus, various mental health associations and organizations have established expert teams to compile guidelines and public health educational articles/videos for mental health professionals and the general public alongside with online mental health services. In addition, mental health professionals and expert groups are stationed in designated isolation hospitals to provide on-site services. Experts have reached a consensus on the admission of patients with severe mental illness during the COVID-19 outbreak in mental health institutions. Nevertheless, the rapid transmission of the COVID-19 has emerged to mount a serious challenge to the mental health service in China.