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How has COVID-19 Impacted on People’s Vulnerability to Mental Illness and Depression?

The Oxford University COSIE study (COvid-19, Social Isolation and Emotion) is an online study which asked people about their experiences during the coronavirus lockdown in late April 2020, while also using objective tests of psychological function to measure vulnerability to mental illness such as depression.

Figure 1: Oxford University COSIE study sample

COVID-19 will have long lasting effects on mental health, both directly, as a result of infection, and indirectly, as a result of isolation. There is an urgent global need to identify the best interventions to help mitigate these effects.  However, without understanding the mechanisms of risk and resilience in this unique situation it is difficult to determine the best treatments.

The COSIE study is designed to investigate the effect of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing. Study leads Professor Catherine Harmer and Dr Susannah Murphy (Department of Psychiatry) recruited a uniquely characterised sample of the population (Figure 1) that will be assessed at regular intervals over the next few months, as the global situation evolves.

Read the full story of the Department of Psychiatry website