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Mental health and clinical psychological science in the time of COVID-19: Challenges, opportunities, and a call to action.

  • Gruber, June1
  • Prinstein, Mitchell J2
  • Clark, Lee Anna3
  • Rottenberg, Jonathan4
  • Abramowitz, Jonathan S2
  • Albano, Anne Marie5
  • Aldao, Amelia6
  • Borelli, Jessica L7
  • Chung, Tammy8
  • Davila, Joanne9
  • Forbes, Erika E10
  • Gee, Dylan G11
  • Hall, Gordon C Nagayama12
  • Hallion, Lauren S13
  • Hinshaw, Stephen P14
  • Hofmann, Stefan G15
  • Hollon, Steven D16
  • Joormann, Jutta11
  • Kazdin, Alan E11
  • Klein, Daniel N9
  • And 17 more
  • 1 Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder.
  • 2 Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • 3 Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame.
  • 4 Department of Psychology, University of South Florida.
  • 5 Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
  • 6 Teachers' College, Columbia University.
  • 7 Department of Psychological Science, University of California, Irvine.
  • 8 Institute for Health, Healthcare Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. , (Jersey)
  • 9 Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University.
  • 10 Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.
  • 11 Department of Psychology, Yale University.
  • 12 Department of Psychology, University of Oregon.
  • 13 Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh.
  • 14 Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.
  • 15 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University.
  • 16 Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University.
  • 17 Department of Psychology, University of Miami.
  • 18 Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota.
  • 19 Department of Psychology, Fordham University.
  • 20 Department of Psychology, Harvard University.
  • 21 Department of Human Development, Cornell University.
  • 22 School of Public Health, University of Michigan.
  • 23 Oakland Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center.
  • 24 UCF RESTORES, University of Central Florida.
  • 25 Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • 26 Department of Psychology, University of Virginia.
  • 27 Department of Psychiatry, Brown University.
Published Article
The American psychologist
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1037/amp0000707
PMID: 32772538


COVID-19 presents significant social, economic, and medical challenges. Because COVID-19 has already begun to precipitate huge increases in mental health problems, clinical psychological science must assert a leadership role in guiding a national response to this secondary crisis. In this article, COVID-19 is conceptualized as a unique, compounding, multidimensional stressor that will create a vast need for intervention and necessitate new paradigms for mental health service delivery and training. Urgent challenge areas across developmental periods are discussed, followed by a review of psychological symptoms that likely will increase in prevalence and require innovative solutions in both science and practice. Implications for new research directions, clinical approaches, and policy issues are discussed to highlight the opportunities for clinical psychological science to emerge as an updated, contemporary field capable of addressing the burden of mental illness and distress in the wake of COVID-19 and beyond. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

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