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Experiences of living with mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a coproduced, participatory qualitative interview study

Gillard, S; Dare, C; Hardy, J; Nyikavaranda, P; Rowan Olive, R; Shah, P; Birken, M; ... NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit Covid coproduction resea; + view all (2021) Experiences of living with mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a coproduced, participatory qualitative interview study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 10.1007/s00127-021-02051-7. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Research is beginning to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on people with pre-existing mental health conditions. Our paper addresses a lack of in-depth qualitative research exploring their experiences and perceptions of how life has changed at this time. METHODS: We used qualitative interviews (N = 49) to explore experiences of the pandemic for people with pre-existing mental health conditions. In a participatory, coproduced approach, researchers with lived experiences of mental health conditions conducted interviews and analysed data as part of a multi-disciplinary research team. RESULTS: Existing mental health difficulties were exacerbated for many people. People experienced specific psychological impacts of the pandemic, struggles with social connectedness, and inadequate access to mental health services, while some found new ways to cope and connect to the community. New remote ways to access mental health care, including digital solutions, provided continuity of care for some but presented substantial barriers for others. People from black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities experienced heightened anxiety, stigma and racism associated with the pandemic, further impacting their mental health. CONCLUSION: There is a need for evidence-based solutions to achieve accessible and effective mental health care in response to the pandemic, especially remote approaches to care. Further research should explore the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on people with pre-existing mental health conditions. Particular attention should be paid to understanding inequalities of impact on mental health, especially for people from BAME communities.

Type: Article
Title: Experiences of living with mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a coproduced, participatory qualitative interview study
Location: Germany
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00127-021-02051-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-021-02051-7
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Covid-19, Mental health, Pandemic, Qualitative
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123657
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