Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on communities throughout the world. The short- and long-term psychological impact at this time is not known, but anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health disorders are likely to occur in the general population. Those with previous history of mental health and/or substance use disorders, those incarcerated, and frontline healthcare and essential workers are at even greater risk.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: Because the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest public health crises in history, the convening of multiple stakeholder groups is needed to gain a better understanding of the mental health impact from those at greatest risk of mental illness related to the pandemic, which will better inform research questions, strategies, and studies.
Objectives: The short-term objectives are to:
- Facilitate an inclusive dialogue with patients, healthcare providers, and stakeholders to set and address research priorities related to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the mental health of populations at greatest risk
- Disseminate project outcomes via a summit and other avenues
- Establish a task force to formalize a research agenda. The long-term objective is to support those at greatest risk of experiencing a mental health crisis due to the pandemic and potentially translating the research findings to other populations and circumstances.
Activities: The project will be conducted in four phases. Phase 1 of the project includes holding research-generating sessions and a development of a preliminary report of the initial findings. Phase 2 of the project includes conducting population-specific panel sessions to identify the top research areas and recommendations for next steps based upon the report generated from Phase 1. Phase 3 includes a cross-sectional panel session that will be held to identify the research areas that intersect the sub-populations based upon the outcomes of Phase 2. The final phase of the project will include the dissemination of the project findings and the initiation of a task force to finalize the research agenda.
Outcomes and Outputs:
- Understanding of the mental health needs of high-risk populations due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Dissemination of project findings at the “Addressing Mental Health Needs Related to COVID-19” summit
- Establishment of a COVID-19 emotional wellness task force
- Development of a COVID-19 emotional wellness research agenda
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The steering committee includes three community members who will be involved throughout the four phases of the project. Additionally, the research-generating sessions will engage patients and stakeholders to gain their insights on COVID-19 and its impact on mental health. Expert panels that include patients, researchers, practitioners, and advocates will provide feedback on how the mental health concerns can be researched. The dissemination summit and the task force are other opportunities for patients and stakeholders to be engaged in the project.
Project Collaborators: The project entails collaboration with individuals and organizations that include patients, families, advocates, providers, and other stakeholders. This includes local and national organizations including Cut50, Little Rock Black Nurses Association, National Black Nurses Association, and mental health organizations.