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Research and Practice

Mental Health and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on public health around the globe in terms of both physical and mental health, and the mental health implications of the pandemic may continue long after the physical health consequences have resolved. This research area aims to contribute to our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemics implications for mental health, building on a robust literature on how environmental crises, such as SARS or natural disasters, can lead to mental health challenges, including loneliness, acute stress, anxiety, and depression. The social distancing aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic may have particularly significant effects on mental health. Understanding how mental health evolves as a result of this serious global pandemic will inform prevention and treatment strategies moving forward, including allocation of resources to those most in need. Critically, these data can also serve as evidence-based information for public health organizations and the public as a whole.

Understanding the Mental Health Implications of a Pandemic

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Introduction

The world is entering into a new phase with COVID-19 spreading rapidly. People will be studying various consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and mental and behavioral health should be a core part of that effort. There is a robust literature on how environmental crises, such as SARS or natural disasters, can lead to mental health challenges, including loneliness, acute stress, anxiety, and depression. The social distancing aspects of the current pandemic may have particularly significant effects on mental health. Understanding how mental health evolves as a result of this serious global outbreak will inform prevention and treatment strategies moving forward, including allocation of resources to those most in need. Critically, these data can also serve as evidence-based information for public health organizations and the public as a whole.

The data will be leveraged to address many questions, such as:

  • Which individuals are at greatest risk for high levels of mental health distress during a pandemic?
  • As individuals spend more time inside and isolated, how does their mental health distress evolve?
  • How do different behaviors (such as media consumption) relate to mental health? 

Read more about how our experts are measuring mental distress amid a pandemic. 

Research

We have been working to ensure that measurement of mental health measures is a key part of large-scale national and international data collections relative to COVID-19.

Read more about conducting research studies on mental health during the pandemic. 

Mental Health Resources

See our resources guide here.

Members of the COVID-19 Mental Health Measurement Working Group

Our Work in Action

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Mental Health Measurement Working Group developed key questions to add to existing large domestic and international surveys to measure the mental health impact of the pandemic.

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