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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about rapid changes to all forms of human interaction and mobility from travel, work conditions, learning environments, to social activities. Around the world, individuals and communities had to deal with both health-related fears and stress, prompted by social distancing and isolation. While the health advantages of the quarantine order have been well documented, its emotional strain on people has had far reaching consequences. As a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of quarantine, the internet was suddenly flooded with posts and videos of people turning to music as a form of individual and communal healing. This paper looks at how communities around the world found solace in music as a form of solidarity that united people regardless of age, gender, nationality, creed and political affiliation. The prospects of music in presenting people with a sense of belonging in times of solitude is explored through the various accounts around the world on the healing power of music. Findings further strengthen previous works on the effects of music on a person's emotional stability and as a means of communal solidarity.
Pravina Manoharan
School of The Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Date received: 23 August 2021 / Date approved: 20 September 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about rapid changes to all forms
of human interaction and mobility from travel, work conditions, learning
environments, to social activities. Around the world, individuals and
communities had to deal with both health-related fears and stress,
prompted by social distancing and isolation. While the health advantages
of the quarantine order have been well documented, its emotional strain
on people has had far reaching consequences. As a coping mechanism
to deal with the stress of quarantine, the internet was suddenly ooded
with posts and videos of people turning to music as a form of individual
and communal healing. This paper looks at how communities around the
world found solace in music as a form of solidarity that united people
regardless of age, gender, nationality, creed and political afliation.
The prospects of music in presenting people with a sense of belonging
in times of solitude is explored through the various accounts around
the world on the healing power of music. Findings further strengthen
previous works on the effects of music on a person’s emotional stability
and as a means of communal solidarity.
Keywords: Pandemic, music, health, society, sense.
From its rst appearance in December 2019, the COVID-19
pandemic has today become a global public health crisis that
has decimated the livelihood of people and crippled nations
worldwide. The health care system in many countries around
the world is on the verge of collapsing as health facilities are
overwhelmed and understaffed. In some places that have alarming
numbers of COVID cases and mortality rates, authorities have
repeatedly imposed self-isolation orders particularly for those who
might have had close contact with COVID-19 patients. While the
imposed stay at home orders mitigated the spread of the virus, it
inadvertently has led to numerous reports of people experiencing
all forms of mental health issues. Prolonged separation from the
outside world which denied people any form of human interaction
Gendang Alam, Jilid 11 (2), 2021
saw a signicant surge of reported cases of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation
and loneliness particularly during the mandatory quarantine period (Banerjee &
Rai, 2020; Duan & Zhu, 2020; Killgore et al., 2020; Torales et al., 2020; Yang et
al., 2020). These are serious public health issues that concern health experts, as
loneliness has been associated with a wide range of mental health problems and
can result in sustained effects on the community way past the pandemic (Ingram
et al., 2020; Killgore et al., 2020). While the virus continues to wreak havoc,
and disrupt political and economic systems worldwide, it has also strengthened
the resolve of the people and their determination to strive as a community. In
times like this, music related activities have proven to be extremely effective. It
has been widely acknowledged that music can function as a form of healing to
overcome loneliness and foster communal engagement (Bartlett, 2019; Conrad,
2010; Hesmondhalgh, 2013; Martínez-Castilla, 2021).
This paper reviews and studies a series of videos and articles posted over
the last one and a half years and aims to determine the prospects of music as a
form of healing and its profound effect on communities around the world. Music
has been said to be the language of the soul and during the worldwide lockdown,
this could not have been further from the truth, as it has brought people together
and helped many overcome some of their darkest moments. Music has created a
sense of belonging and communal involvement as it became one of the only forms
of communication that was ‘allowed’ and welcomed by many. It functioned as the
antidote amidst a growing sense of panic towards prolonged quarantine impositions.
The role of music on a person’s emotional and social wellbeing is an area that
has received signicant attention from various disciplines particularly the
medical eld. For example, studies by Rickard (2012) and Stensæth (2018)
have examined the role of music in improving a person’s general wellbeing and
mental health, while studies by Daykin et al. (2006), McClean et al. (2012) and
Stanczyk (2011) looked at how music has helped cancer patients cope with their
condition and Cuddy et al. (2917), Simmons-Stern et al. (2010) and Ziv (2007)
have thoroughly studied the function of music in improving memory power of
people with Alzheimer’s. Findings from these researches only goes to validate
claims on the efcacy of music as a form of healing.
As a vehicle of expression, music lends itself many interpretations and
it is left to the ‘ears’ of the beholder that render it value and meaning. Greek
philosophers Plato and Aristotle have been widely known to acknowledge music’s
Pravina Manoharan
ability to invoke moral and spiritual harmony (Whiteld, 2010). Research has
revealed that the different music modes derived from ancient Greece, have unique
sounds associated to them which have the ability to evoke different forms of
emotions (Whiteld, 2010). Given its long-standing association to human emotion
and its popular application in a variety of research areas, it is no surprise that the
last year has seen a steadily growing body of literature that looks at music and
its effects on a person’s emotional psyche and the role music plays, in helping
people overcome issues of anxiety caused by isolation (Bell, 2021; Calvo, &
Bejerano, 2020; Grigoriadou, 2020; Martínez-Castilla et al., 2021; Yeung, 2020;
Ziv & Hollander, 2021). Research has also shown that making music can be
benecial for people in a number of ways, in particular giving people a sense of
ownership and control over their lives and in forging connections with others
(Bartlett, 2019; Bell, 2021; Calvo & Bejerano 2020).
This research employed a qualitative method to data collection. Material
was gathered from secondary sources like YouTube videos, online blogs and
newspaper articles to review and analyse the role music played in the lives of
individuals and communities during the pandemic. A total of 10 YouTube videos,
15 blog articles and 15 newspaper articles were reviewed to gather information on
how in times of turmoil, communities around the world turned to music in search
of solace and comfort. The material gathered was then divided into four main
themes and a thematic analysis method was employed to analyse the material as
presented in the following subsections of this paper. The discussions within the
themes were based on the various secondary sources gathered from the internet
to examine how music plays a healing role within the different individual and
social settings throughout the pandemic.
In a time of sheer uncertainty and turmoil, the opportunity to participate in
communal activities presents people with a sense of solidarity as it brings people
together and gives them a sense of purpose. ‘This COVID-19 crisis is a vivid
demonstration of just how quickly people have turned to music to express and
participate in a sense of social belonging (University of Oxford, 2020).
In January 2020, social media feeds were abuzz with videos emerging
from Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, of people singing patriotic
songs and chanting Wuhan jiāyóu’ (South China Morning Post, 2020). Literally
Gendang Alam, Jilid 11 (2), 2021
translated as ‘add oil’, the phrase was meant to cheer the people on and encourage
them to keep ghting and to save their city from the deadly virus. The videos
received mixed reviews from viewers in the comment section, as some deemed
it unsafe for people to be out in the balconies but the core message of the video
was the unifying and healing power music had to offer the people in times of
uncertainty. People from all over the world started commenting on the videos
and gave words of encouragement and support for the people of Wuhan. K Spirit
commented “The human spirit is the strongest thing. It can do miracles”, while
Absorb CODM commented “very sad to see this but glad that they unite all the
same to support each other. All our prayers from Ireland”. People were left feeing
desolated and depressed with the compounding despair surrounding the deaths of
relatives, friends and neighbours. In the midst of this turmoil and helplessness,
banding together as a community was their only resolve to show strength and
unity. They rallied to cheer and shout out calls of encouragement to reassure
their neighbours but more so themselves that there is hope at the end of the day.
Two months after the Wuhan videos, new videos emerged showing
residents in Italy playing instruments from the balconies and banging pots and
pans from outside their windows to show solidarity with one another in these times
of great duress (Guardian News, 2020). It was a clear message indicating that
although the pandemic kept them isolated and conned to their residences, there
was still a way to come together and that was through the power of music. The
video postings were again ooded with messages of encouragement from around
the world as people came together to be in solidarity with the Italians. One viewer
from Romania wrote, “I’m so proud of the Italian people, everything is gonna
be ok, this hard time are going to pass. Sending love from Romania”. Kiriza 22
wrote “This is a beautiful side of humanity, much love from Uganda, Africa!!”.
A research conducted on the effects of making music on balconies, revealed that
this communal activity functions as a means through which communities can
overcome disaster to derive a sense of collective strength (Calvo & Bajerano,
2020). In commenting about the people of Italy coming together as a community,
Davide De Luca, a reporter said “We showed that in this hard time we can stick
together, …we are a community, not just a bunch of individuals” (Horowitz, 2020).
The healing power of music resonated through the various instruments as videos
showed people actively participating in this mass gathering of musical ecstasy.
The harmonious cacophony that erupted from the balconies was a clear indication
of how, despite adversities, music is able to comfort the unsettled mind and heal
the troubled soul. The people coming together reected their resilience and spirit
as a nation facing one of the worst state of emergencies since the Second World
War (Horowitz, 2020).
Pravina Manoharan
Just weeks after the videos from Wuhan and Italy, social media feeds were
once again ooded with videos and posts of people around the world coming
together through music. This time not as Italians, Chinese or Americans, but rather
just as people and citizens of this world. In March 2020, Pub Choir who are a
musical act founded in Brisbane, Australia, created a video that featured over
1,500 strangers from 40 countries presenting their rendition of Close to You by
The Carpenters (Pub Choir, 2020). This group that called themselves the Couch
Choir during the pandemic, garnered over 800,000 views and over 20,000 likes
in just under a week. Filling the void of social interaction, music has the power to
unite and the sheer volume in participation just goes to show how eager people are
to participate in communal activities that will uplift spirits. COVID has created
an international musical response among its global citizens who are all striving
towards the same goal, a sense of comfort and some form of human connection.
On March 22, 2020, Neil Diamond did a parody of his hit song Sweet Carolina
which became an instant hit among netizens. He tweeted a video of himself
sitting by a replace with a guitar in hand and urged his online audience to
socially distance and keep washing their hands (NBC, Washington, 2020). Where
the lyrics normally went, “hands, touching hands/reaching out, touching me,
touching you,” Diamond changed it to, “hands, washing hands/reaching out,
don’t touch me, I won’t touch you.” Diamond started off by saying, “I know
we’re going through a rough time right now, but I love ya, and I think maybe if
we sing together, we’ll feel just a little bit better” (NBC, Washington, 2020). His
comforting words resonated with millions of viewers and messages were pouring
into his Twitter feed as people thanked the legend for using his voice and music
to send a powerful message to the people, particularly at a time when Americans
were deant towards socially distancing themselves and wearing masks. During
these uncertain times, where connections are more virtual than physical, musical
engagement offers a sort of participatory engagement that is crucial in helping
individuals and communities maintain a sense of sanity.
Music has a profound ability to unite complete strangers and allow them
to speak in a language that they automatically understand, and the essence of
that conversation can penetrate the soul of someone else listening. A pianist is
Barcelona, sat in his balcony with his keyboard to serenade his neighbours with
Celine Deon’s, "My Heart Will Go On" and he was surprisingly joined by a fellow
musician from a neighbouring block on the saxophone. You can hear the people
cheering in the background as the two acknowledge each other from the distance
Gendang Alam, Jilid 11 (2), 2021
and continue to hit the right notes as they accompanied each other from different
buildings. This spontaneous gesture by the two musicians is a clear indication of
how through music people can still come together while staying apart.
The pandemic also altered the type of music people were listening to. In
March 2020, Spotify published an article highlighting the changes in streaming
habits. The article noted an increase in people streaming ‘chilled’ and instrumental
music that was calmer and more relaxed. Although this may not seem like a
deliberate action, the intuitive selection of these type of music to match cognitive
and emotional needs is an indication of the palpable need for music in our lives.
The article also reported a spike in people creating collaborative playlists which
allowed them to share their music and keep friends and family informed about
their wellbeing.
Professional musicians who had their concerts and tours cancelled resorted
to offering virtual concerts for their fans. On 18 April 2020, as part of a global
initiative called One World: Together at Home, hundreds of musicians came
together to entertain their fans from the comfort of their own homes in an 8
hour long live virtual concert. Co-organised by the World Health Organization
(WHO) and curated by Lady Gaga, the concert featured intimate performances
by some of the biggest names in the music industry such as John Legend, Elton
John, Billie Eilish, Chirs Martin from Cold Play and Taylor Swift who performed
some of their greatest hits (Global Citizens, 2020). Some of these musicians
even took requests from fans and engaged in small chatter. The concert was
broadcasted live across popular platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Facebook,
Instagram and YouTube. Aside from the obvious entertainment value, the concert
raised almost $128 million which was distributed among various charities
and WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund (Global Citizens, 2020).
Although performing in isolation, the message the concert offered was strong
and unyielding, as it revealed the unity among the people in ghting against the
pandemic. The concert was in support of the brave frontlines and heath care
workers tirelessly working to save lives.
While the healing benets of music for the general population during the period of
lockdown is undisputable, its effects in helping COVID-19 patients have also been
very promising. In light of the pandemic, numerous musicians have come together
to offer a series of virtual bedside concerts. Project: Music Heals Us is a non-
prot organization aimed at providing inspiration, education and healing through
Pravina Manoharan
live music performances to marginalised, disabled, incarcerated and homeless
communities across the United States. However, in April 2020, the organization
spread its wings and expanded their mission to help the COVID-19 patients
who are currently the most isolated and vulnerable community (Easterwood,
2021). Their rst project was with the ICU patients at New Yorks Presbyterian
Allen Hospital. The team was contacted by Dr Rachel Easterwood who is a
professionally trained musician-turned-physician who believed that while she
was able to provide her patients with medical care there was more that could
be done to help them emotionally and spiritually. With a group of musicians,
she coordinated virtual classical music bedside concerts for her patients. The
concert happens on facetime as Dr Easterwood holds her phone to the patient
as the musicians play live from their respective homes. Dr Easterwood reported
very promising results from the sessions as the concerts offered comfort to the
patients especially when they were completely isolated from human contact
(Easterwood, 2021).
Music in Hospitals and Care is a charitable organization that performs live
music for patients to improve their health and wellbeing. Every year, the charity
(comprising professional musicians) shares live music with over 100,000 people
from across the UK. The aim of this performance is to provide an opportunity
to people to enjoy a live musical prance as they otherwise may not have an
opportunity to experience it. This includes people living in care homes, those
living with dementia or who are seriously ill. Hence, when the pandemic hit, the
team switched to online streaming platforms and expanded their performance
reach as they also entertained COVID-19 patients.
Musicians on Call (MOC) is another organization that have performed for
over 150,000 people virtually (Bliss, 2020). Musicians on Call’s Virtual Bedside
Performance Program engages volunteer musicians to perform for paediatric and
adult patients, caregivers, and those in need of remote, live music through 1×1
intimate performances and hospital-wide concerts (Bliss, 2020). With the aid
of technology, the musicians are able to reach patients in all areas. According
to the article, for more than 20 years, Nashville-based non-prot Musicians on
Call has brought live and recorded music to patients in hospitals and nursing care
facilities. The organization is spread across the United States and at the time of this
publication the program had 30 requests a month for live virtual bedside concerts.
In 2020, Musicians on Call released the #MOCHeals Playlist. It is a compilation
of music videos recorded by MOC volunteers. This playlist was shared with
hospital partners to be played for their patients. The video is also available on
YouTube and can accessed by anyone in need of a pick-me-up. Ever since then
Gendang Alam, Jilid 11 (2), 2021
there have been several virtual bedside concerts organised around the world for
patients aimed at reliving isolation and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Such
efforts by musicians and hospital personals only goes to show the positive effect
music has on healing and offering comfort particularly at a time when people are
in great distress and in need of human contact.
Numerous accounts by doctors and nurses have revealed how playing
soothing music for patients helps them sleep better, as it calms them and makes
them less anxious. In an article published in Boston 25 News, Dr Kathy May
Tran was quoted as saying;
As a doctor, this is my expertise. I take care of hospitalized patients. I take
care of patients with COVID every day, but despite that, honestly, a lot of
times, I feel helpless,” ... “I don’t have a cure for COVID the way that I
have a cure for other diseases. And I certainly don’t have a good treatment
for the anxiety and fear and loneliness and worry that these patients feel”
(McCarthy, 2020).
She also noted that, [The musicians] are spending their time, giving the
healing power of music to these patients,” Tran said. “It’s invaluable, and it’s
certainly not something I would be able to offer, were it not for this program”
(McCarthy, 2020).
On explaining the success of virtual bedside concerts, Enchi Chang a
musician and a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, noted
that “It’s been a huge success. We’ve had multiple concerts where we have also
been able to bring in family members from all over the United States, kind of
letting people enjoy music all together,” Chang said. “For patients and staff,
music kind of brings a moment that’s different from the monotony of the hospital
life and some life and some joy to the environment there, too” (McCarthy, 2020).
While the emphasis has always been placed on patient care and their well-being,
there is an important fraction of the community who although have been constantly
praised as the unsung heroes of the pandemic, have received little relief from
their strenuous workload. The stress in coping with the pandemic is momentous
and has presented them with immense and unprecedented pressure. Prolonged
periods of excessive stress can have dire consequences on a person’s mental and
physical health (Idress, 2015). Thus, in times of the pandemic, we saw many
frontliners participating in numerous music events online. In Malaysia, driven
Pravina Manoharan
by their passion for music, a group of medical front liners came together and
presented the iconic song Belaian Jiwa by Carefree in an attempt to boost spirits
in during Hari Raya (Yusof, 2021).
News of frontliners coming together in solidarity also appeared elsewhere
as a group of Drs in Boston USA collaborated in song writing exercises as a form
of stress release. The Drs turned their personal stories into songs that reected
their current reality battling the pandemic. The main aim of the exercise was
to provide a safe and intimate space for front line workers dealing in trauma to
talk, connect, decompress, and ultimately feel heard. “You deal with so many
emotions and so many thoughts, and the heaviness of the job - it’s a way to process
everything and to challenge it,” said Dr DaMarcus Baymon, who is the chief
resident of Emergency Medicine in the Harvard Afliated Emergency Medicine
Residency program.
Music professionals have attempted to include the voices of medical
frontliners in their creative works. In New York, songwriter and executive
producer, Ken Freirich released a song “Healthcare Workers Rock!”. The
song was written as a rock anthem in honour of all the healthcare workers
and frontliners around the world battling COVID-19 and putting their lives on
the line every day to help others. The video has a more profound impact as,
every time the video is shared from the Random Acts of Kindness Facebook
or Twitter pages with #HealthcareWorkersRock, a donation of USD1 will be
made to #FirstRespondersFirst. At the time of the article the organization had
raised up to USD100,000. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier
recently published a book entitled Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power
of Songwriting. The book is particularly poignant as apart from narrating the
healing and redemptive power of song writing, the musician has included real
life experiences from medical front liners in her memoir and gives them a voice
through her words.
The Project: Music Heals Us has also beneted medical frontline workers.
On commenting on the benets of music, Dr Kathy May Tran noted that “This
program (referring to the Project: Music Heals Us) is as much a benet to
patients and families as healthcare workers,” Tran said. “It’s really nice to have
this reprieve, because we are quite burdened during the pandemic with all the
sadness around us.” While isolation and anxiety are often afliated with patients,
the doctors and nurses treating these patients on a daily basis and facing death
almost every day also experience isolation and fatigue from working long days
away from their families. Music is both personal and communal (Hesmondhalgh,
Gendang Alam, Jilid 11 (2), 2021
2013). It has the ability to stir emotions even with the absence of words. At the
same time, music can even draw strangers together just through the frequency
of sound and nothing else.
The various accounts and numerous videos about music and its ability to bring
strangers together further validates claims about music’s healing ability. Making
music provides us with a sense of control over the uncontrollable, as the comfort
and peace that is derived from the act of participating in music. Making music
together reminds us that we belong to a larger community of humanity. From
people singing and performing on balconies, mass online choirs to virtual bedside
concerts for COVID-19 patients, music throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
created a form of collective mobilization by communities to stay united and
persevere through times of uncertainties. The participation in a musical activity
builds a sense of collective strength, as it offers people with an opportunity to own
something that is uniquely theirs. It is a coping mechanism that helps communities
deal with a crisis to only overcome together but also to heal together.
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The strict lockdown experienced in Spain during March–June 2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis has led to strong negative emotions. Music can contribute to enhancing wellbeing, but the extent of this effect may be modulated by both personal and context-related variables. This study aimed to analyze the impact of the two types of variables on the perceived efficacy of musical behaviors to fulfill adults’ emotional wellbeing-related goals during the lockdown established in Spain. Personal variables included age, gender, musical training, personality, resilience, and perception of music’s importance. Contextual variables referred to living in a region with a high COVID-19 impact, perception of belonging to a risk group, being alone, having caring responsibilities during confinement, and amount of time of music listening as compared to prior to the crisis. The study was conducted retrospectively during August–December 2020, when the strict lockdown was over in Spain. An online survey was disseminated among the general population and groups of musicians, and the answers of 507 adults (from 18 years on, 73.9% females, 51.3% musically trained adults) were analyzed. Only personal, but not COVID-19 context-related variables, showed an impact on music’s efficacy. The youngest age group of adults and those with musical training reported the highest efficacy of music for wellbeing enhancement, and music’s importance was found to be the main significant predictor of music’s perceived efficacy. Our findings suggest that the people who have been reported to be emotionally more vulnerable during the lockdown, due to either a strong impact on their daily lives or their lower resilience, perceive a higher benefit from musical behaviors. Being musically trained, even for a small number of years, also leads to a perception of higher efficacy of music for the achievement of emotional wellbeing goals. However, this effect is explained by the musically trained individuals’ higher perception of music’s importance. Although musical behaviors can be generally considered as important for wellbeing enhancement, our study highlights who are the potential individuals who could benefit the most from music-related activities for obtaining better levels of wellbeing, at least within the current context of the COVID-19 crisis.
During stay-at-home orders in response to COVID-19, individuals had to deal with both health-related fear and anxiety and the difficulties related to social distancing and isolation. The present study, conducted in Israel shortly after the first lockdown was lifted, at the end of May 2020, examined individuals’ subjective evaluation of differences in their music listening habits and emotional reaction to music compared with normal times. A total of 200 participants filled an online questionnaire focusing on three issues: (1) changes in amount and situations of music listening. These included reference to new music clip types recently created and directly related to COVID-19 and its effects ( Corona Clips); (2) changes in intensity of emotions experienced in reaction to music; and (3) changes in general emotions. For most participants music listening and uses remained similar or increased. Both emotional reaction to music general negative and socially related emotions were stronger than under normal circumstances. Music uses and emotion scales were correlated with socially related emotions. The results support previous findings regarding the use of music for mood regulation and the importance of music as a means for social contact and provide a demonstration of subjective evaluation of these functions in real-time coping during a global crisis.
Online musical performances in the first few months of the pandemic and lockdown in New York City bring to light the sonic and temporal challenges, unique acoustic space, and aesthetic possibilities of performing on Zoom. The social connection gained through these performance events is the key to their efficacy.
Social distancing measures imposed by authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic induce reflection on our existence: human presence once providing life in public space has now undermined it altogether. Away from the dystopia of the evacuated public spaces, a playful encouraging prayer against the extinction scenario comes from the Mediterranean urban balcony. This distinctive architectural element should further be explored as the new public space for restoring physical as well as social wellbeing during confinement. Early reflections on reevaluations of the existing/new balcony typologies promoting health in outdoors living seek to instigate a broader knowledge towards solutions and creativity.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most communities in the United States imposed stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially leading to chronic social isolation. During the third week of shelter-in-place guidelines, 1,013 U.S. adults completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale-3 and Public Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Loneliness was elevated, with 43% of respondents scoring above published cutoffs, and was strongly associated with greater depression and suicidal ideation. Loneliness is a critical public health concern that must be considered during the social isolation efforts to combat the pandemic.
Issues Despite the serious implications of loneliness on health and wellbeing, little is understood about this experience across people with substance use problems. This systematic review aimed to examine: (i) correlates and predictors of loneliness; (ii) theories underpinning loneliness; (iii) methods employed to measure loneliness; and (iv) loneliness interventions for people with substance use problems. Approach Empirical sources were identified from key databases for all publications preceding February 2019. Overall, 41 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Key Findings Findings from this review suggest that loneliness is related to poor physical and mental health, substance use, the quality of relationships, stigma and perception of ill treatment by others. Although cognitive theories have proposed cognitive patterns underlying the onset and maintenance of loneliness, they had not been investigated in relation to measurement or intervention efforts. Just one loneliness measure (UCLA Loneliness Scale) is valid for use with this population. Finally, only a single loneliness intervention had been trialled and was not found to be efficacious in reducing loneliness for people with substance use problems. Implications Understanding possible links between loneliness and substance use and how to alleviate loneliness is important for this population in terms of their wellbeing and recovery. Conclusion Loneliness is prevalent and experienced as problematic among people with substance use problems. Future research should focus on employing longitudinal designs, using validated, multidimensional measures of loneliness and on developing and trialling loneliness interventions that meet the specific needs of people with substance use problems.
Background: The current outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus infection among humans in Wuhan (China) and its spreading around the globe is heavily impacting on the global health and mental health. Despite all resources employed to counteract the spreading of the virus, additional global strategies are needed to handle the related mental health issues. Methods: Published articles concerning mental health related to the COVID-19 outbreak and other previous global infections have been considered and reviewed. Comments: This outbreak is leading to additional health problems such as stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, insomnia, denial, anger and fear globally. Collective concerns influence daily behaviors, economy, prevention strategies and decision-making from policy makers, health organizations and medical centers, which can weaken strategies of COVID-19 control and lead to more morbidity and mental health needs at global level.