COVID-19 pandemic guidelines for mental health support of racialized women at risk of gender-based violence
Gender-based violence (GBV) affects 30-60% of women, impacting their mental, physical, and sexual health. Violence against women contributes to high levels of morbidity and mortality. It is associated with life-long mental health impacts including anxiety disorders, depression, and substance use disorders. Studies report higher rates of past suicide attempts and social exclusion and isolation. Global statistics reveal a drastic increase in violence against women during the COVID‑19 pandemic. Fear, uncertainties and stressors among the population during the pandemic contribute to anger and aggression against spouses and partners. Worldwide warnings (including Canada) are raised on the increasing domestic violence during the crisis. Growing evidence also shows that racialized groups are especially at higher risk of COVID‑19 related morbidity and mortality. Our project’s overall goal is to advance trauma-informed mental health care for racialized women at risk of GBV during the COVID‑19 pandemic response and recovery phases. We will conduct a rapid review to assess the state of knowledge on mental health among women exposed to GBV during the COVID‑19 pandemic, and to identify best practices for detection, referral, and service provision for mental health promotion and care. We will adapt the Cochrane Rapid Reviews method, and will be guided by an equity lens in conducting rapid reviews on public health issues. We will engage in gender-specific knowledge exchange with different sectors. Our project’s outcomes will be: a Rapid Review of synthesised findings, an Information Brief, an Infographic, and a Toolkit. We will also prepare a Peer-review Article and a Policy brief. Finally, we will develop emerging Guidelines to assist racialized women at risk of GBV and service providers on mental health supports during the COVID‑19 pandemic in Canada.