Researchers appeal to public for help to assess mental health impact of the COVID-19

Scientists are appealing to the public for help to assess the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim to inform and improve future policies concerning pandemics

Scientists are appealing to the public for help to assess the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim to inform and improve future policies concerning pandemics.

The Repeated Assessment of Mental health in Pandemics (RAMP) study from researchers at King’s College London aims to measure the mental health and wellbeing of the population throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and examine what factors influence these changes.

The researchers will look at contextual, psychological and behavioural factors that may affect risk and resilience to mental health problems during the pandemic. The questions will assess symptoms of common mental health disorders, in both individuals with and without existing mental health problems. They will also examine how life circumstances such as loneliness and employment, thought processes such as distracting oneself when worried, and self-care behaviours such as yoga or exercise, are affecting these symptoms.

The RAMP study is UK wide and open to any residents of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland who are over the age of 16 and have access to the internet. This study is in partnership with MQ, the UK’s leading mental health research charity.

How to take part:

  • Sign up via the RAMP study website – https://rampstudy.co.uk/
  • Complete an initial questionnaire – this will take 35-40 minutes
  • Complete a shorter 10-15minute follow up questionnaires every two weeks, and occasional 1-2 minute questionnaires after major government announcements

Dr Katherine Young, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre Lecturer, IoPPN, King’s College London, said, “This research is crucial in understanding how unprecedented measures which have disrupted life as we know it, affect the mental health of the population. Knowledge resulting from this study can help us create better strategies and policies that safeguard our mental health, should a similar pandemic arise in the future.”

Professor Thalia Eley, Director of the Emotional Development, Intervention and Treatment (EDIT) Lab, IoPPN, King’s College London, added “There are lots of different ways people are looking after themselves during this pandemic, and we are very interested in understanding whether particular strategies work better for some than others, and how these relate to our current and past mental health experiences”.

Dr Helen Munn, Acting CEO, MQ: Transforming Mental Health, says “There is growing recognition that the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic 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 pleased to partner with the RAMP study, which will systematically collect high quality evidence on mental health during the crisis and, importantly, seek to understand the effectiveness of different interventions. This study forns a key part of the mental health research response to Covid-19 and will be an important contribution to mapping and addressing the near- and long-term mental health impacts”.

The researchers received funding for the study through the King’s Together Rapid COVID-19 call, a pilot funding scheme from King’s College London which aimed to engage rapid research on the disease.

The RAMP study research team includes Dr Katherine Young (PI), Dr Kirstin Purves, Shannon Bristow MSc, Professor Gerome Breen, Professor Thalia Eley and Professor Matthew Hotopf. Several of the team are wholly or partially supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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Keeping the participants information secure is our top priority. This data will be held securely (in line with new data regulations) and will only be accessed by a limited number of approved researchers. We comply with a number of regulations and policies to ensure data is protected. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was put in place to ensure the protection of all EU citizens’ data privacy. It also gives people the rights to access any information held about them.

For more information and to take part, please visit: https://rampstudy.co.uk/

Follow the study team on social media via:

https://www.instagram.com/rampstudy/

https://www.facebook.com/ramp.study

https://twitter.com/rampstudy

Notes to Editors

Contact

To arrange interviews with the research team please contact the Communications team at NIHR Maudsley BRC:

  • Alex Booth, Communications and Engagement Manager, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, Tel 020 7848 0495 [email protected]
  • Serena Rianjongdee, Communications and Engagement Officer, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, Tel 020 7848 2137 [email protected]

King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 10 UK universities in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2018/19) and among the oldest in England. King’s has more than 31,000 students (including more than 12,800 postgraduates) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 8,500 staff.

The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London is the premier centre for mental health and related neurosciences research in Europe. It produces more highly cited publications in psychiatry and mental health than any other university in the world (Scopus, 2016), with 21 of the most highly cited scientists in this field. World-leading research from the IoPPN has made, and continues to make, an impact on how we understand, prevent and treat mental illness and other conditions that affect the brain. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn

The National Institute for Health Research

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.

This work uses data provided by patients and collected by the NHS as part of their care and support and would not have been possible without access to this data. The NIHR recognises and values the role of patient data, securely accessed and stored, both in underpinning and leading to improvements in research and care. http://www.nihr.ac.uk/patientdata

About MQ: Transforming mental health

MQ is the UK’s leading mental health research charity. They’re transforming lives through research, helping to create a future where mental illnesses are understood, effectively treated and one day prevented.

Their scientists investigate a huge range of issues: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and more. They’re bringing together everything from cutting-edge neuroscience to social studies to find the answers we need.

In everything MQ does, they’re driven by one certainty: research can transform what it means to experience mental illness, starting now and for every generation to come. MQ is here to make sure change happens.

Visit MQ’s website: MQ Transforming Mental Health

Media Contact
Serena Rianjongdee
[email protected]

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