This Research Topic is part of our Regional Perspectives series. Other regionally focused collections in this series:Assessing and Evaluating the Impact of The Covid-19 Pandemic on Anxiety and Stress: Perspectives from Eastern Europe and Central AsiaAssessing and Evaluating the Impact of The Covid-19 Pandemic on Anxiety and Stress: Perspectives from North AmericaAssessing and Evaluating the Impact of The Covid-19 Pandemic on Anxiety and Stress: Perspectives from South AmericaAssessing and Evaluating the Impact of The Covid-19 Pandemic on Anxiety and Stress: Perspectives from the Indian Sub-Continent
The Covid-19 pandemic has unduly affected the mental health care system and mental health well-being of people globally due to a plethora of potential impacts on our own health, health care systems, and the economy amongst others. While waves of Covid-19 fluctuate globally, challenges to providing appropriate mental health care services and developing effective solutions in terms of prevention and treatment for anxiety and stress-related disorders remain major concerns.
As the pandemic initially spread from East Asia, countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea were the first countries to be impacted by COVID-19, leading to certain levels of economic recessions and posing threats to society. In China, 53.8% of the respondents reported a moderate or severe psychological impact of the pandemic (Wang et al, 2020). In Japan, 11.5% of adult respondents experienced serious psychological distress and the prevalence of depression was 17.9% (Yamamoto, 2020). In South Korea, 45% of the 400 residents expressed clinical levels of depression, anxiety, or stress (Lee, 2021). Hence, more efforts and concerns should be generated to support public mental health.
As a regional historical unit, East Asian countries and regions share similar cultures and to varying degrees influenced by Confucianism. Therefore, both adults and children tend to hold high levels of academic and career expectations, resulting in overwhelming academic and job stress. Considering the segregation policy, students and employees had to be separated from schools and workplaces. While there are several side effects of online study and work, which would be detrimental to individuals residing in East Asia.
East Asian countries are more aware and prepared for this epidemic, due to their experience in dealing with SARS and frequent dengue fever. Therefore, East Asian governments have been quick to respond by tightening controls in public places (Yamamoto et al., 2022; Lee et al., 2021). China, in particular, acted decisively to ban public gatherings, perform mass testing, stay-at-home order, and conduct city-wide lockdowns (Lin et al., 2021). After the large-scale vaccination, some of the interventions of the embargo were gradually lifted, and the degree of restriction began to vary significantly. Among them, South Korea and Japan have relaxed their epidemic prevention and control measures to a greater extent, while mainland China remains very cautious. Epidemic prevention and control measures and their changes have created a tremendous impact on mental health, and there are differences in the impact of the policies on mental health in East Asian countries.
The goal of this Research Topic is to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on anxiety and stress, looking at the impact on the general population in East Asia, on patients and healthcare staff, both during the initial waves and also in the context of long Covid in this region. There is also a unique opportunity to explore possible cross-cultural differences in the expression of anxiety and stress in these times and to study anxiety and stress in relation to the Covid pandemic using longitudinal designs. We also look forward to contributions to novel digital interventions which can increase the feasibility and general access to mental health care treatment.
We invite researchers to submit a range of articles focused on research from East Asia including, but not limited to, Original Research articles, Reviews, Opinions, Perspectives, and Case Reports on the following:
• prevalence and associated factors of anxiety and stress during the Covid-19 pandemic
• prevalence and associated factors of anxiety disorders during the Covid-19 pandemic
• patient-reported outcomes of Covid-19
• the associations between long Covid-19, anxiety, and stress
• changes in psychiatric inpatient services
• integration of digital mental health care solutions
• effects of psychological interventions to improve stress and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic
• social, demographic, and economic factors related to anxiety and stress during the Covid-19 pandemic
• the impact of stress and anxiety related to Covid-19 on family interactions and related factors
• psychological effects of Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare workers
• clinical trials on effective treatments for anxiety disorders related to the Covid-19 pandemic.