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The urgent need for a mental health research response to COVID-19

The mental health implications of COVID-19 are already significant, and will grow with the scale and length of the outbreak.

At MQ we believe strongly that the UK and global research response to COVID-19 must include mental health. This should include the systematic collection of high quality evidence on mental health and effective interventions during the crisis, along with ways to map and address the long term mental health impacts.

The world is rightly focused on measures to suppress COVID-19 transmission and protect the most vulnerable, along with research to develop a vaccine. Alongside this, there is a growing recognition that the mental health impacts will be significant for us all – for those with existing mental health conditions and for everyone affected by stress, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, family pressure and financial hardship.

MQ is reaching out to researchers, other funders, stakeholders, and colleagues, to build a rapid picture of mental health research priorities for COVID-19. We’re also working on how we could engage public audiences around mental health research during this period. We will be updating on this in due course.

There is no doubt that MQ’s funded research will be impacted by the current situation, with the closure of facilities, restrictions on research participation and the need for clinical researchers to prioritise frontline duties. We know our community will wish to join us in showing support and solidarity with our researchers through this challenging time.

What is clear is that the world will need more mental health research, not less, over the coming weeks, months and years.  MQ stands ready to meet this challenge. 

Dr Helen Munn, Acting CEO, MQ: Transforming Mental Health
Professor Emily Holmes, Chair, MQ Research Committee

If you – or someone you know – are concerned about your mental health during this difficult and uncertain time, there are a range of useful resources that have been produced. Or if you need urgent help, the following organisations and resources can help.

Last updated: 19 March 2020

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