About the ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’ study

The Mental Health Foundation led a ground-breaking, longitudinal study of how the coronavirus pandemic affected people's mental health across the United Kingdom during 2020-2022.

Our team

For the ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’ study, the Foundation redeployed some of its most experienced research and policy experts to work on this and its implications. The Principal Investigator has been the Foundation’s Director for England and Wales, Dr Antonis Kousoulis. The Research Manager for the study was the Foundation's Senior Research Manager (Scotland), Susan Solomon.

The Foundation worked closely with five academic partners from across the UK to analyse, interpret and contextualise the data. The lead partners and co-investigators were:

  • Prof Tine Van Bortel, Co-principal Investigator, from the University of Cambridge and De Montfort University, England
  • Prof Ann John, from Swansea University, Wales
  • Prof Alec Morton, from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland
  • Prof Gavin Davidson, from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Also involved was the public opinion research company YouGov.

Our project

Since mid-March 2020, the project did regular repeated surveys of more than 4000 adults. The surveys were conducted online by YouGov. Participants were different on each sampling occasion but taken from the same pool and representative of people aged 18+ and living in the UK.

We complemented this research with a sub-study focused on adolescents. Read more about the Coronavirus and Adolescent Mental Health Study.

The survey was not diagnostic but took a public mental health approach. Each time it covered a range of topics designed to shed light on people’s emotional responses to the pandemic, the key social drivers of distress, coping mechanisms and suicidal thoughts.

The study repeated the survey at regular intervals and collected 13 waves of data over a period of almost two years. A particular interest has been in the pandemic’s impact on inequality and mental health.

The study's statistical findings were complemented by in-depth qualitative research. People with lived experience offered personal insights, and comments on the data generated by the study. Each time they were selected to represent a broad range of human experiences within the UK, including that of living or having lived with mental health problems.

Ethical approval has been obtained from the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee and from De Montfort University.

On our ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’ study pages you can find the briefings we have published and the summaries of our findings and evidence.

The full research protocol of our study has been peer-reviewed and published in BMJ Open.

Read more about the effect of our work and study on 'Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’.

Our studies

Illustration of COVID virus over the UK

Key findings from the ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’ Study

Explore our findings and statistics about mental health from different waves of the pandemic.

Graphic of a mixture of young people all wearing face masks for COVID-19

Coronavirus and Adolescent Mental Health Study

Explore our other study into the pandemic's effect on mental health focused solely on adolescent mental health.

Our briefings

The Mental Health Experiences of Older People During the Pandemic

The Mental Health Foundation worked with Independent Age to produce this report on older people's mental health during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic, financial inequality and mental health

Explore this briefing surrounding financial inequality and mental health during the pandemic. This report was a result of this ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’ study.

Resilience across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic

This research briefing looks at resilience across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic and how people are coping.

Coronavirus: The divergence of mental health experiences during the pandemic

This briefing reports findings from the Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic study around how people’s experiences during the COVID-19 crisis varied depending on social and economic factors.

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