The Mental Health Foundation is leading a longitudinal study of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the mental health of people across the United Kingdom.
For the study – Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic – the Foundation has redeployed some of its most experienced research and policy experts to partly work on this and its implications. Principal Investigator is the Foundation’s Director for England and Wales, Dr Antonis Kousoulis. Susan Solomon is the Research Manager for the study.
The Foundation is working closely with four academic partners from across the UK to analyse, interpret and contextualise the data. Our lead Co-Investigators are:
- Prof Tine Van Bortel, from the University of Cambridge
- Prof Ann John, from Swansea University
- Prof Alec Morton, from the University of Strathclyde
- Prof Gavin Davidson, from Queen’s University Belfast
Also involved is the public opinion research company YouGov.
Since mid-March 2020, the project has done regular repeated surveys of more than 4,000 adults. The surveys are conducted online by YouGov. Participants are different on each sampling occasion but taken from the same pool and representative of people aged 18+ and living in the UK.
The survey is not diagnostic and is taking a public mental health approach. Each time it covers a range of topics designed to shed light on people’s emotional responses to the pandemic, the key social drivers of distress, coping mechanisms and suicidal thoughts.
The study is repeating the survey approximately every three weeks and overall, it is expected to last for four to six months. A particular interest is on the pandemic’s impact on inequality and mental health.
A diverse Citizens’ Jury is contributing qualitative information, personal insights, and comments on the data generated by the study. Jury members were selected to represent a broad range of human experience within the UK, including that of living or having lived with mental health problems.
Ethical approval has been obtained from the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee.
One of the outputs of the research project will be regular briefings informed by detailed analysis of the data, that will in turn generate recommendations for action by policymakers. We are also sharing our anonymised and aggregate data with the government and policy colleagues from the 4 nations of the UK.