News Release

Mental health in times of the pandemic

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

Meeting Announcement


In May 2020, the United Nations warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has the seeds of a major mental health crisis if action is not taken. Social isolation, job and financial losses, uncertainty about the real impact of the crisis, and fear for physical well-being affect the mental health of many people worldwide. Do these stressors lead to an increase in the number of depressions and anxiety disorders? What are the challenges on the healthcare side? What effects do protective policy measures against the virus have for human mental health?

International experts will discuss these issues at an English-language virtual panel discussion jointly organized by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Academy of Science of South Africa on Monday, 28 September, 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. CEST.

Virtual Panel Discussion

"The Hidden Crisis: Mental Health in Times of COVID-19"
Monday, 28 September 2020
10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. BST (Abuja)
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. CEST (Berlin, Madrid, Pretoria)

Debating at the podium:

  • Professor Berta Ausín, Department of Personality, Evaluation and Clinical Psychology, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

  • Professor Oye Gureje, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

  • Professor Andreas Heinz, Member of the Leopoldina, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany

  • Professor Ashraf Kagee, Department of Psychology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The panel will be moderated by Professor Marcella Rietschel, Member of the Leopoldina, Head of the Department Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry and Scientific Director Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany.

Further information can be found at:

The event is open to all interested parties. Participation is free of charge. Prior registration is required via the following link:

After successful registration, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with a dial-in link for the webinar and a password. You will also receive information on how to dial into the event by phone. When using the ZOOM video conferencing system, the privacy policy of the provider applies:


About the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

As the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina provides independent science-based policy advice on matters relevant to society. To this end, the Academy develops interdisciplinary statements based on scientific findings. In these publications, options for action are outlined; making decisions, however, is the responsibility of democratically legitimized politicians. The experts who prepare the statements work in a voluntary and unbiased manner. The Leopoldina represents the German scientific community in the international academy dialogue. This includes advising the annual summits of Heads of State and Government of the G7 and G20 countries. With 1,600 members from more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina combines expertise from almost all research areas. Founded in 1652, it was appointed the National Academy of Sciences of Germany in 2008. The Leopoldina is committed to the common good.

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