A study led by Professor Cathy Creswell is one of six new projects to be funded by UKRI and the NIHR to investigate and reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health of three at-risk groups
The new projects worth a total of £2m will give a much-needed boost in support for research investigating the impact of the pandemic on mental health. They will focus on reducing the negative effects on the mental health of at-risk groups including healthcare workers and those with serious mental health problems.
Three of the six projects will specifically focus on children and younger people, with two projects using existing cohorts to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent social restrictions on the mental health of teenagers. The third project led by Professor Creswell focusses on enabling Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to provide efficient remote treatment for child anxiety problems in the COVID-19 context. This research will evaluate an online therapy programme for children with anxiety problems, to see if it is an effective remote alternative to existing mental health treatment services and could help treat anxiety problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) face major challenges in delivering psychological treatments remotely. Furthermore professionals will need to access increasingly efficient treatments if referrals to mental health services increase as expected now social distancing measures have been relaxed and schools reopened. This research will evaluate a therapist-supported, online cognitive behaviour therapy with more than 500 children with anxiety aged 5-12 years and their parents and carers. The study will compare the online programme with current CAMHS provision to see if it is as effective and could save money.
This latest group of projects form part of a rolling call for research proposals on Covid-19, jointly funded by UKRI and the NIHR in response to the pandemic, and includes research on treatments, vaccines and the spread of the virus. Visit the NIHR website to find out more about all the studies being supported.