Participants can enter a draw to win a $50 VISA gift card!
The mental health impact of COVID-19
We have all experienced major changes in our lives since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic affect the health, safety, and well-being of both individuals and communities. On an individual level, this pandemic is causing insecurity, social and emotional isolation, confusion, and stigma. These effects may get translated into a range of emotional reactions that lead to distress and poor mental health. For people already living with mental health conditions, the COVID-19 pandemic may make it harder to cope or to access support. The pandemic might also make it harder to do things that help to support mental wellbeing, like getting enough exercise and spending time with friends and support networks.
The impact on vulnerable and at-risk groups
Although the pandemic has affected everyone, certain groups are more vulnerable than others to the mental health effects of pandemics. Particularly, people who contract the disease, those at heightened risk for it (the list includes the elderly, immunocompromised people, and those living in care homes), and people with preexisting medical, psychiatric, or substance use issues are at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes. People who experienced social exclusion, stigma and other forms of marginalization before the pandemic, like racialized communities, people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ2S+ folks, migrants and refugees and others, might also experience a higher risk of poor mental health and lack access to the necessary supports and care that they need during the pandemic.
A rapid shift to using e-mental health care
With the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions like the need for physical distancing, we have seen an increased need to use digital health to increase access and quality of mental health care. Digital mental health programmes enable us to respond quickly, smoothly, and efficiently and help us to reach people over great distances with minimal mobility requirements. However, to be able to make the optimum use of digital mental health opportunities for at-risk populations, we need to understand how to make sure that digital mental health is easy to access and appropriate for the people who need it most.
The Technology and Equitable Access for Mental Health in a post-COVID Asia Pacific (TEAM-CAP) Study
The APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health (‘the Digital Hub’) is hosted in Canada at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in partnership with the University of Alberta and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT). The Digital Hub is a well-known network of stakeholders representing researchers, healthcare providers, policymakers and people with lived experience (PWLE) from across the region. The Digital Hub’s working group on Disaster Resilience and Trauma is conducting a study that has two objectives: 1) to understand the mental health needs particular to high-risk groups in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, 2) to understand how best to use digital mental health to provide accessible and acceptable care to at-risk populations.
We are currently conducting a brief online survey about equity and access to e-mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic and invite you to participate!
- above the age of 19
- able to provide informed consent
- live in one of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries (see list below*)
If you decide to take part in it, you will be asked to complete a basic demographic information form. You will also be asked about mental health care delivery in the context of COVID-19 in your country – and about needs and gaps related to mental health care for at-risk populations based on your own experience and expertise. Your responses will be anonymous and no one will be able to identify you or your answers by any means. You will also have the option to enter a draw to win a $50 pre-paid VISA gift card.
You can access the survey here: https://ubc.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2fOWfr3P6fDKlDw
For more information about this study or the Digital Hub, please feel free to contact Dr. Jill Murphy (Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry at UBC, Executive Director of the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health and CREST-BD member) at: firstname.lastname@example.org
* APEC Countries include: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, The United States and Viet Nam