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 any changes.
What is being assessed?
The researchers will look at contextual, psychological and behavioural factors that may affect risk to mental health problems during the pandemic. The questions will assess symptoms of various mental health conditions in both individuals with and without existing mental health problems. They will also examine how life circumstances such as loneliness, employment uncertainty, and traumatic experiences are affecting these symptoms.
In the questionnaire participants are presented with a non-exhaustive list of mental health conditions: from body dismorphic disorder, to excoriation disorder (skin picking), to post-traumatic stress disorder. Participants are able to fill in a field if their conditions are not listed, and follow up questions for everyone taking part asks about particular experiences such as hearing voices that others do not and compulsively engaging in rituals.
This research was reviewed by a team with experience of mental health problems and their carers if applicable.
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 shorter 10-15 minute follow up questionnaires every two weeks, and occasional 1-2 minute questionnaires after major government announcements
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.
Dr Katherine Young, NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, 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 Lab, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, 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”.
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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.
For more information and to take part, please visit: https://rampstudy.co.uk/
The World Health Organisation advises people experiencing anxiety related to Coronavirus to put a daily limit on their consumption of news related to the pandemic.