Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Looking Back to Move Forward: Reflections on the Strengths and Challenges of the COVID-19 UK Mental Health Research Response.

  • Demkowicz, Ola1
  • Panayiotou, Margarita1
  • Parsons, Sam2
  • Feltham, Amy3
  • Arseneault, Louise4
  • Ingram, Beth5
  • Patalay, Praveetha6
  • Edge, Dawn7, 8
  • Pierce, Matthias7, 9
  • Creswell, Cathy2, 10
  • Victor, Christina11
  • O'Connor, Rory C12
  • Qualter, Pamela1
  • 1 Manchester Institute of Education, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Independent Researcher, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 4 King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 5 Hearts and Minds, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 6 Centre for Longitudinal Studies and Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, University College London, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 7 Division of Psychology and Mental Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 8 Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH) National Health Service Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 9 The Manchester Centre for Women's Mental Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 10 Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 11 College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 12 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
Published Article
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.622562
PMID: 33897488


In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the swift response of mental health research funders and institutions, service providers, and academics enabled progress toward understanding the mental health consequences. Nevertheless, there remains an urgent need to understand the true extent of the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, necessitating ongoing research. Although the speed with which mental health researchers have mobilized to respond to the pandemic so far is to be commended, there are valid concerns as to whether speed may have compromised the quality of our work. As the pandemic continues to evolve, we must take time to reflect on our initial research response and collectively consider how we can use this to strengthen ensuing COVID-19 mental health research and our response to future crises. Here, we offer our reflections as members of the UK mental health research community to discuss the continuing progress and persisting challenges of our COVID-19 response, which we hope can encourage reflection and discussion among the wider research community. We conclude that (1) Fragmentation in our infrastructure has challenged the efficient, effective and equitable deployment of resources, (2) In responding quickly, we may have overlooked the role of experts by experience, (3) Robust and open methods may have been compromised by speedy responses, and (4) This pandemic may exacerbate existing issues of inequality in our workforce. Copyright © 2021 Demkowicz, Panayiotou, Parsons, Feltham, Arseneault, Ingram, Patalay, Edge, Pierce, Creswell, Victor, O'Connor and Qualter.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times