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UK experts demand mental health research




UKV experts say a groundbreaking paper calls for urgent coordinated research on the mental health and potential neurological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rapid deployment of new therapies. States.

In the paper, It was published Along Lancet psychiatry On April 15, 24 UK mental health experts said the pandemic could affect the most vulnerable people, both now and in the long run, especially in society.

Frontline concerns

Reported by Medscape Medical News, They set a roadmap for research on how to maintain mental health throughout the crisis, especially for frontline medical staff and vulnerable groups.

In fact, as a result of two studies involving more than 3000 British adults, It was published By the British Academy of Medical Sciences and Research Charity MQ (Mental Health and Quality of Life): Change mental health, April 15, showed that the effects are already beginning to be seen.

Respondents asked when the UK blockade came into force are more concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, which raises concerns about anxiety, isolation, access to care, and emotional upset. I said.

Professor Matthew Hottop, co-author of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London, said a paper webinar states that the effects of pandemics on mental health do not last only during the current epidemic. Emphasized in.

He said, “In the short run, there are significant issues about serious anxiety,” but he said, “I don’t think it will be a temporary temporary change” due to the effects of the crisis on unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. .

“I more expect it to be a slow burn with serious consequences in the long run.”

Main research fields

While there were promising signs of people adopting coping strategies, experts say the results indicate the need for continuous monitoring of anxiety, depression, self harm, suicide, And other mental health issues.

It also calls for rapidly deploying remotely accessible evidence-based programs and treatments for remote access, and researching new approaches tailored to specific groups.

This is alongside research on resilience in the face of crisis and the effects of the COVID-19 virus on the brain and nervous system, including databases to monitor neuropsychological effects.

Urgent and strategic action

Professor Ed Bullmore, co-author of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, emphasized that COVID-19 “is likely to have a significant impact on mental health, now and in the future, and that we should start thinking about it immediately.”

“That’s why we emphasize the need for interdisciplinary research across different disciplines of mental health sciences,” he said.

“We are urging action now. We will urgently and strategically launch research programs to carry out in a nationally coordinated manner, properly assess the scale of issues and address them as quickly as possible. I’m trying to give you the best way to try.

“Primarily, we need to know what we are dealing with … and we need to find new ways to treat or prevent mental health problems that can be delivered digitally.”


This will require the UK research funding agency to emphasize and collaborate with researchers and individuals with experience in the effects of pandemics on mental health.

“It’s important to use research funds efficiently, which is one of the reasons we emphasized that it would be best if funds were sent through some kind of coordinating group.” I emphasized.

He said that the COVID-19 epidemic has led to numerous publications of “a very large number of very small spray guns”.

“We believe that questions about mental health are so important that we need a more robust research approach,” said Professor Bullmore.

“We need to work on a large scale. We need to work in a coordinated manner across multiple disciplines within mental health sciences, which is why we need to manage additional investments that may occur in this discipline. Seeking a coordination group. “

Leverage existing infrastructure

Professor Hotopf said in the UK, “I have a very good research infrastructure for mental health research, an existing network and a” team science “approach, which I think is exactly what you need. I added.

This was addressed by Dr. Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSC).

In response to the thesis, she said, “This timely work by world-leading experts … helps shape the study of how this pandemic affects people’s mental health and well-being.” Will be informed of the discovery and improvement of effective interventions to combat illness.

She also emphasized that “collecting high quality data on national mental health is an important part of our efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis.”

To these ends, she emphasized that funding from the National Institutes of Health to address research priorities is available through newly launched UK research and innovation / DHSC. Rolling call For COVID-19 research. “

Professor Fiona Watt FRS FMedSci, Executive Chair of Medical Research

The council said the paper “indicates an important framework for prioritizing mental health science research related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I fully support the focus on coordinating research efforts at national and international levels to support coordinated and rigorous research into mental health and neuroscience.”

Help the most vulnerable people

Duncan Selby, Chief of Public Health England, said, “ We are very aware of the pain this pandemic is having in our daily lives, increasing anxiety and isolation, and sickness and illness among family and friends. The actual impact of social distance on people dealing with death and on our mental health. “

He said the most vulnerable people, including front-line health care workers and those already living in mental or physical health, are “particularly affected” with those who support them. .

“For this reason, this paper is very urgently needed, supporting strong research in mental health and neuroscience and helping to provide subtle, timely and effective interventions.”

But professor Rory O’Connor, co-author of the Institute of Suicide Behavior Research at Glasgow University, noted that at a webinar, funding for mental health research was far less than in other disciplines.

Taking the example of cancer, “the cost of research for cancer is 25 times more than the mental health of all affected people,” he said.

“Before COVID-19, our really serious concern is that the differences will grow,” said O’Connor.

“Of course, at first we need to focus on the physical symptoms and physical aspects of this pandemic, [we] We have to be careful not to really expand [research] Disparity. “

This paper represents an independent study funded by the National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research Center at the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Trust, the University of Cambridge and South London, and the Moseley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

In addition to the research submitted, Professor Hotopf reports on grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative. He is funded by the National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research Center and National Institutes of Health Senior Investigator Award in Moseley.

Professor O’Connor receives royalties from books and from time to time fees for workshops and invited addresses. It also reports grants from the Medical Research Foundation, Mindstep Foundation, Chief Scientist Office, Medical Research Council, NHS Health Scotland, Scottish Government, and National Institute for Health Research.

No other conflicts of interest have been declared.


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