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

The new research will inform future policies concerning pandemics.

researchers appealThe Repeated Assessment of Mental health in Pandemics (RAMP) study, involving researchers from across King’s Health Partners 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 Mental Health Research Charity (MQ), the UK’s leading mental health research charity.

How to take part:

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

Talking about the research, Dr Katherine Young, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Centre Lecturer and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences (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. 

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, Principal Investigator (PI), Dr Kirstin Purves, postdoctoral research associate, Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, IoPPN, King’s College, London, Shannon Bristow MSc, research associate, King’s College London, Professor Gerome Breen, Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry at King’s College London, Professor Thalia Eley, Developmental Behavioural Generics and Professor Matthew Hotopf IoPPN Vice Dean. Several of the team are wholly or partially supported by the NIHR. 

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.

To read the full story, visit the King’s College London website.

To take part, please visit the RAMP Study website.