COVID-19 Project

[Project status - Ongoing]

Project summary 

The Mental Health Policy Research Unit are carrying out a programme of study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health care and people living with mental health conditions in the UK. This programme involved three projects conducted rapidly in 2020:

  1. A framework synthesis of papers and published “grey literature” on the current and potential impacts of COVID-19 on mental health services and the people who use and work in them, and on what has worked and not worked in mitigating these impacts.
  2. An online questionnaire for mental health staff from all sectors about the impact of COVID-19 on services and the success or otherwise of innovations and adaptations to manage these impacts.
  3. A qualitative study conducted jointly with the UKRI Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Group to understand impacts of the pandemic and any potential strategies to mitigate negative impacts, from the perspective of people with lived experience of mental health problems.

A further stage of this programme is being conducted in 2022. This involves a systematic review of epidemiological literature exploring the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the prevalence and incidence of mental health conditions, psychiatric morbidity for people with pre-existing mental health conditions, and mental health service use.

Engagement and Events:

  • Literature review of early impacts of Covid-19 and the pandemic on mental health services and people who use and work in services
  • Mental health staff survey about impacts of the pandemic on services and ways of working
  • Interview study Paper 1: experiences of people with mental health conditions of the pandemic
  • Interview study Paper 2: Follow up paper on sustained impacts of the pandemic for people with mental health conditions
  • Interview study Loneliness paper: Experiences of loneliness among people with mental health conditions before and during the pandemic
  • Rapid realist review: Implementation, Adoption, and Perceptions of Telemental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review
  • Covid epidemiology review: This paper is in preparation. The review protocol is published here