Researchers at Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre are participating in the national effort to tackle the COVID-19 emergency. They have developed a range of projects investigating the mental health impacts of the pandemic and created freely available resources to support clinicians.
The following projects are currently underway with others in development. Further updates will be added below as work progresses.
Oxford Health BRC researchers are taking part in a major UK research study – PHOSP-COVID, which will investigate the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients. The new study has been awarded £8.4 million jointly by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Read more about PHOSP-COVID here.
COVID-19 and mental health – evidence based guidance
A team from the Digital and Informatics cross cutting theme led by Professor Andrea Cipriani have summarised the best available guidance around the key questions facing mental health clinicians every day.
The guidance covers topics including:
Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs (zopiclone and zolpidem)
Digital technologies and telepsychiatry
End of life care
Long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics
You can read the full guidance here including translations into a number of languages.
New Programme Helps Frontline Healthcare Workers at Risk from PTSD and Depression
Researchers have developed a new mental health treatment programme to provide frontline workers with 1-to-1 support, including fast-track access to PTSD or depression treatment. This evidence-based programme, called SHAPE Recovery, builds on an outreach programme shown to reduce rates of PTSD and depression. Read more about SHAPE recovery here.
Guidance and resources for PTSD after intensive care
Researchers from the Precision Psychological Therapies theme led by Professor Anke Ehlers have published new guidelines and provided free resources for treating patients experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
O-ACE study to explore mental health benefits of online cultural experiences
Researchers have launched a pilot project using the Ashmolean Museum’s digital collections and resources to explore the effects of online cultural experiences on mental health. It will evaluate existing online resources at the Ashmolean; recruit study participants from existing networks with a particular focus on groups vulnerable to mental health problems during the pandemic; and it will develop and test content using experimental medicine methodologies to assess impacts on mental health and wellbeing. Read more here.
Supporting NHS therapists and frontline staff
The Precision Psychological Therapies team have also provided direct support to IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services and other clinicians by developing guidance for remote working with patients. They have held three live webinars for NHS England to support IAPT therapists treating PTSD remotely. Recording of the webinars are available.
Social isolation and lockdown – a study of the effects on adolescents in Oxfordshire
A new study partly funded by the BRC will determine current risks to adolescents from isolation, online behaviours, anxiety and patterns of seeking support during the COVID-19 crisis. In partnership with researchers, schools in Oxfordshire can agree to take part in the study for pupils aged 9 to 18 years (Years 5 to 13). Read more about the study here.
Excessive mistrust linked to conspiracy beliefs reduces the following of government coronavirus guidance
A study led by Professor Daniel Freeman and funded by Oxford Health BRC has indicated that a disconcertingly high number of adults in England do not agree with the scientific and governmental consensus on the the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full story here.
Supporting mental health and resilience in first responders
The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on our emergency services, highlighting the vital need to build resilience and protect the mental health of first responders. New analysis by Oxford Dr Jen Wild, Oxford Health BRC Senior Fellow, recommends that a combination of operational training for staff and mental health training for managers is most effective. Read the full story here.
Resuming paused research
In addition Oxford Health BRC is beginning to work towards restarting research not related to COVID-19. This is in accordance with NIHR’s latest guidelines and their ‘Framework for restart‘. The NIHR have published a revised Q&A on the impact of COVID-19 on research.
COVID-19 research at the University of Oxford
There is further information about research into COVID-19 and mental health on the University Department of Psychiatry website.
The University of Oxford is at the forefront of research into developing a vaccine for the coronavirus and unprecedented speed, scope and ambition is required. You can find out more about the research here or make a donation in support of this work here.
Official guidance on COVID-19
For the most up-to-date official guidance on the rapidly evolving situation please visit the Oxford Health Foundation Trust website.