IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


New project to examine the impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health and trust across the world

13 May 2020

A new project by UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is set to explore the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on people’s trust in others and mental health across the world.

Young woman wearing a face mask in the coronavirus pandemic. Image: Gustavo Fring via Pexels

The project, led by Dr Keri Wong at the IOE, will look at the short-term and long-effects of the pandemic on individuals’ health. 

The study will compare the UK’s lockdown experience with the experiences in other countries that have adopted different guidelines.

UCL is leading the study and working with four other universities: the University of Pennsylvania (USA), the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), University Massachusetts Lowell (USA), and the University of Trento (Italy). The researchers will use the study to develop best practices to support individuals and their family.

The longitudinal design of the study will also help inform government policies, healthcare services, schools and universities on new ways to rebuild communities moving forward.

Dr Wong said: “I was a teenager living in Hong Kong during the 2003 SARS outbreak. I have vivid memories of reading the ‘numbers’ every day on the news, having to wear a mask to school for weeks, taking my GCSE mock exams in them, and seeing hand sanitiser dispensers pop-up overnight in shopping malls and building lobbies, that have since become a part of the city’s fabric. When COVID-19 hit the UK, these memories came flooding back, including the months of warning from friends and family in Hong Kong telling me to be careful. This time, as an adult, I felt a sense of urgency to do something about it.

“This COVID-19 study helps us understand the immediate and long-term effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health and relationships around the world. This research is important in informing policies - both at the institutional and societal level – and what needs to be in place to ensure that people feel safe enough to go about their lives again.”

The project is currently collecting data through an online survey that gathers people's psychological experiences now and will also do so 6 months and 12 months later.

The survey is available in 7 languages: Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Traditional/Simplified) and English.

As long as you can access the survey, any person aged 18 years or over, and resident of any country can take part.

Complete the survey