The Impact of COVID-19 on Persons with Lived Experience of Mental Health and/or Substance Use Challenges:

A survey assessment.

COVID-19 is a uniquely long-term and multidimensional stressor that is likely to disproportionately impact the wellbeing of individuals with mental health and/or substance use challenges. While several studies have shown increases in anxiety, depression, and traumatic stress in the general population following the onset of COVID-19, few have explored the impact the pandemic has had on individuals already experiencing mental health and/or substance use challenges. This impact is possibly worsened for people of color, as well as individuals who are homeless and/or experiencing job loss.

AIMS

The main aim of this study is to characterize the overall effect that COVID-19 has had on those living with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Our goals are to: 1) characterize experiences related to work/employment, family/home, social activity, emotional health/wellbeing and physical distancing, 2) explore participants’ experiences with mental health access and treatment, including peer support, and 3) explore the relationship between specific social determinants of health (i.e. living situation, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status) and the ability to engage in safety behaviors (e.g. physical distancing) to protect against COVID-19.

METHODS

We have designed this study as an anonymous, online survey through Massachusetts General Hospital’s Research Electronic Data Capture system. Our anticipated enrollment is 150 participants, and inclusion is limited to English and/or Spanish-speaking adults, aged 18 years or older, who self-report lived experience of a mental health and/or substance use challenge. Subjects will be recruited through email, using recovery-based listservs. Some of these listservs are associated with Massachusetts’ Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, Recovery Learning Centers, and National Alliance on Mental Illness chapters.

COE PROJECT STAFF

Corinne Cather, PhD

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Anne Whitman, PhD, CPS

SENIOR PEER CONSULTANT

Kim Mueser, PhD

CO-INVESTIGATOR

Katherine Kritikos, MPH

PROGRAM MANAGER

Abigail Wright, PhD

RESEARCH FELLOW

Kamila Bhiku, BS

CLINICAL RESEARCH COORDINATOR

Lisa LeFeber, BA

CLINICAL RESEARCH COORDINATOR

Hannah Skiest, BA

CLINICAL RESEARCH COORDINATOR

Additional Collaborators

Karen Fortuna, PhD; Kelly Irwin, MD, MPH; Rob Walker, CPS.

Funding

Funding for this project was provided by the MGH COE/Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.