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Lords to explore COVID-19 mental health impacts

Friday 18 September 2020

On Tuesday, the Lords Science and Technology Committee will continue its inquiry into the Science of COVID-19, by questioning clinicians and researchers on the mental health impacts of the pandemic.

Following on from its session last week exploring the long-term health implications of COVID-19, the Committee will move to exploring the mental health impacts.

The session will first focus on the mental health impacts of the illness upon patients who suffer a severe case and/or prolonged issues with ‘long-COVID’, as well as the impacts upon their families and upon health and care staff.

The Committee will then hear about the mental health impacts of the pandemic and the response, including upon vulnerable groups, children, and people with pre-existing mental health conditions. The Committee will seek to determine where research is required to understand the impacts, and also what healthcare services will be needed now and in the longer term.

Follow live on Parliament TV from 10am, Tuesday 22 September.

Witnesses:

  • Dr Michael Bloomfield, Head of Translational Psychiatry Research Group, UCL; and Co-founder, COVID Traumatic Stress Clinic
  • Professor Matthew Hotopf FMedSci, Vice Dean of Research, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London; and Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
  • Dr Nichola Rooney, Consultant Clinical Psychologist; Professor, Queen's University Belfast; and Northern Ireland Chair of Division of Clinical Psychology, British Psychology Society
  • Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK
  • Dr Tamsin Ford CBE, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Sonia Johnson, Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry, UCL

Questions the committee will likely cover include:

  • Does the NHS have the expertise, capacity and coordination to offer longer-term psychological treatment to those who have suffered traumatic experiences of serious illness, or who are suffering with prolonged symptoms of ‘long COVID’?
  • Have support services for staff been expanded ahead of the anticipated resurgence of the virus in the winter?
  • What are the effects on bereaved families who have experienced "complicated grief" during the pandemic?
  • If further restrictions need to be introduced again in future, could anything be done differently to reduce the mental health impacts upon people who are isolated, in particular the elderly and other vulnerable groups, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions?
  • To what extent are children experiencing mental health impacts, whether obvious or subtle, and could these lead to difficulties in future?

 

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