UC San Diego Health researchers studying mental health as it relates to COVID-19 put out a call Tuesday for the public to take part in an online survey.
The researchers are working to assess how the pandemic is affecting stress, anxiety —and more broadly, mental health — on a global scale and identify how certain attitudes and behaviors may help increase positive well-being during a crisis.
“When facing something as new as this pandemic with so many unknowns, threats to a person’s overall mental health and wellness are undeniable,” said Raeanne Moore, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine. “It’s important that we provide tools that check in on people and identify when support is needed.”
The survey, which is available in English, Dutch, Spanish and Mandarin and can be accessed at Mywellnesscheck.org, was initiated by a multidisciplinary team of researchers using UCSD’s collaborative science platform Earth2.0.
The MyWellnessCheck project is being led by psychiatry researchers at UC San Diego Health and designers at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
The survey asks basic questions about health, such as sleep, exercise, optimism for the future and quality of personal relationships. Respondents must provide contact information including an email and phone number, but any personal identifiers are kept separate from the data so researchers will not be able to associate any person with certain responses.
Using the answers, researchers will develop better measures of a person’s well-being and expand upon mental health interventions for the future. Answering the questions serves as a positive mental activity for the respondents, as well, they said.
Researchers will also analyze a person’s living situation, population density of their city, demographics and geographical information to address how the context of an individual’s environment may be affecting their overall well-being.
“By gathering this data on a global scale, we’ll create `heat maps’ and look at how people in the United States and throughout the world are dealing with stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 crisis,” Moore said.
The data is intended to not only help from a psychological perspective, but also a biological one, according to UCSD. Research shows loneliness, stress and anxiety are significant health risk factors, particularly among older persons.
MyWellnessCheck is also available for organizations, such as companies or schools that wish to anonymously check in with their staff or students.
— City News Service