29 January 2021 Article

Therapeutic alliance, social inclusion and infection control – towards pandemic-adapted mental healthcare services in Switzerland

Dirk Richter et al., Swiss Arch Neurol Psychiatr Psychother, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the Swiss mental healthcare system. Many services were downsized or closed, and admission to treatment and care institutions was restricted during lockdown. These measures were necessary according to the general containment and mitigation strategies of federal and cantonal authorities, but this situation has had negative consequences for care and treatment of service users. This paper asks for a rethink of key aspects of the Swiss mental healthcare system that have been demonstrated not to be adaptable to the pandemic. In particular, the paper suggests diversifying care and treatment settings, and strengthening outpatient and outreach services. Finally, some proposals to foster social inclusion during and after the pandemic are outlined.