Mental health and managing isolation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
We hope that you and your professional and social networks are keeping well in these uncertain times. Under the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, research and practical work to reduce loneliness and social isolation and promote good mental health is now more relevant than ever.
Three of our co-investigators (Sonia Johnson, Alexandra Pitman, and David Osborn) have clinical roles as psychiatrists, and have seen the detrimental impact of social distancing on their patients’ symptoms over the last few weeks. Clinical services are adapting to the restrictions and offering what social support they can, both to existing psychiatric patients and those with emergency mental illness. The research community are also responding with rapid reviews of the evidence, and applying existing findings to developing initiatives that might buffer the impact of social distancing on new onset or worsening mental health problems. As a network we are collaborating with the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit in supporting a range of projects that investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.
We would like to offer our members whatever support we can to enable you to continue the important work you are doing in this area. We have been collating resources (see below) that will help mitigate the mental health effects of the social isolation measures enacted in response to COVID-19. We welcome your suggestions so that we can add these to our website.
Exploring the lived experiences of loneliness and isolation with people with mental health problems during the COVID 19 pandemic in the UK
The aim of this research study is to find out about the experiences of feeling lonely or isolated and how they may relate to experiences of mental health problems during the COVID pandemic and more generally.
Lived experience researchers conducted telephone and online interviews with people with lived experience of mental illness to help us understand more about mental health and loneliness and how it relates to COVID 19 pandemic.
It will also help us to do further research looking at how to measure these things, or to develop ways of supporting people’s mental health and reducing loneliness and isolation particularly during pandemics.
The study is organised by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health Policy Research Unit, within the Division of Psychiatry at University College London, and the Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network, within the Division of Psychiatry at University College London.
UCL Research Ethics Committee have approved this study: Project ID number: 15249/001
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this study, we have now finished recruiting to this study and are currently analysing the interviews.
Watch an MHTV episode about this research.
Read the first paper published from this research 'Experiences of living with mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a coproduced, participatory qualitative interview study'.
Funding to support groups responding to the needs of communities affected by the covid-19 pandemic: https://londoncommunityresponsefund.org.uk/
- 4 Mental Health: resource to help you find ways to feel a bit calmer and for ideas to help you cope
- NHS Every Mind Matters: covid 19 and staying at home tips
- Anxiety UK: covid 19 anxiety support and resources
- Public Health England: Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of the coronavirus (COVID 19)
- MIND Coronavirus and your wellbeing
- Mental Health Foundation: How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- Royal College of Occupational Therapists: staying well when social distancing
- World Health Organization: Mental Health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID 19 outbreak
- UNICEF: How teenagers can protect their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak
- The British Psychological Society: Dealing with the effects of covid 19
- Centre for Mental Health report: Supporting Mental Health Communities during the coronavirus crisis
- Royal College of Psychiatry: COVID-19: Accessing medication for mental health
- The MARCH Network have put together a resource pack for creative activities that are available online.
- Video from the Academy of Medical Sciences on loneliness in researchers https://acmedsci.ac.uk/grants-and-schemes/whats-available-to-me/career-support-space/loneliness-and-social-isolation
- NHS site: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coping-loneliness-during-coronavirus-outbreak/
- Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/loneliness-during-coronavirus
- Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.uk/stories/disasters-and-emergencies/uk/coronavirus-six-facts-about-loneliness
- Local Government Association: https://local.gov.uk/loneliness-social-isolation-and-covid-19
- What Works Center for Wellbeing: https://whatworkswellbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/COVID-LONELINESS-2020.pdf
- Office of National Statistics: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandlonelinessgreatbritain/3aprilto3may2020
- Independent Age: https://www.independentage.org/how-covid-19-affecting-loneliness
- NHS Confederation: https://www.nhsconfed.org/blog/2020/06/how-the-arts-tackle-loneliness-and-isolation-during-covid-19
Are you interested in taking part in research relating to the coronavirus and mental health/wellbeing and isolation?
Here is a list of studies taking place:
MARCH network: COVID 19 Social Study https://www.covidsocialstudy.org/
SMARTEN: COVID 19 Impact on Researchers https://www.smarten.org.uk/covid-19-study.html
RAMP study: The Repeated Assessment of Mental health in Pandemics (RAMP) study is a research project assessing the effect of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of the population. https://kcliop.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0DrSSOISyMOqN5r
Swinburne University: Survey of Health and wellbeing: monitoring the impact of OCVID-19: https://swinuw.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_71JhtkOTFFLwE73