COVID-19 unmasked — exploring the emotional effects of a pandemic

Understanding the emotional impact of COVID-19 on children, young people and their families is the focus of a new Griffith University-led study.

The multi-institution project also includes researchers from the University of Southern Queensland and the University of Queensland.

“While research has already provided valuable information about how parents and carers can support their children’s mental health in general, we know nothing about what is most effective in the current context,’’ says lead researcher Associate Professor Caroline Donovan from the School of Applied Psychology.

“COVID-19 has led to an elevated awareness of environmental threat, caused major disruptions to families’ lives, through social distancing, school closures, and now effective lockdown. This is also a rapidly changing situation where different pressures will arise for children, young people and their families over time,’’ she said.

“We need to understand the short and long-term impacts of COVID19 on children, young people and families to inform the supportive care needs of families during and following the crisis.”

The researchers will also explore the impact of rapidly evolving changes to mental health service delivery such as telehealth and digital health services.

“Telehealth and digital health services are being used as first-line responses in delivery of mental health support,’’ Associate Professor Donovan said.

“Although these services have been used previously, it was on a much smaller scale, so the majority of research has been with people who already hold favourable opinions of such modalities. We want to examine the use and acceptability of telehealth and digital health with the wider population.”

The researchers are interested in hearing from families with children aged between 6 and 17 years to take part in a series of online surveys throughout the year.

Participate in the survey