Department Response to COVID-19


The UBC Department of Psychiatry shares a deep concern about the COVID-19 pandemic and its mental health impact on our local communities, Canada and rest of the world. Our thoughts go out to all of those who have been affected by the spread of this virus. We are focusing our research resources towards evaluating the mental health effects of COVID-19 in order to develop new interventions and meet the service needs of our patients and their families, while supporting our staff during this challenging time.


COVID-19: The Role of Psychological Factors in the Spreading of Disease, Discrimination, and Distress

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Steven Taylor

This study is designed to identify the profiles of fear and anxiety responses to COVID-19, and how they might influence behaviour, using a large multiple time point survey of Canadian and US participants.


Clozapine prescribing and COVID-19

UBC Project Lead: Dr. William G. Honer

An international subgroup of the Treatment Response and Resistance in Psychosis Working Group prepared a statement describing the challenges, and providing recommendations for clozapine prescribing related to COVID-19. The statement is freely available: Siskind D, Honer WG et al. Consensus statement on the use of clozapine during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Psychiatry Neurosci 2020;45(4):200061.


Impact of COVID-19 on a vulnerable, inner city group with multimorbid illness, living in precarious housing

UBC Project Lead: Dr. William G. Honer

People who may be homeless or living in substandard accommodation may be at greater risk for COVID-19, particularly if they have concurrent infections such as with HIV that can decrease the immune response, and capacity for recovery. Living situations can also create challenges for physical distancing, or self-isolation should illness occur. This study assesses the value of regular, monthly check-ins with people living in these situations, and evaluates the potential contribution of a screening blood test for prevention and for public health efforts to support this vulnerable population.


Evolution and predictors of neuropsychiatric symptoms after COVID critical illness

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Will Panenka

The study examines individuals with COVID19 disease admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Vancouver General Hospital. It aims to link fluid biomarkers and indices of severity of acute COVID19 to neurological and psychiatric symptoms during the acute phase and to psychiatric outcomes at 3 and 12 months post-recovery.


Student e-mental health project: Impact of COVID-19 on student well-being

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Daniel Vigo

As part of a survey on student mental health, substance use and wellbeing, this study is tracking the geographical and social proximity of COVID-19 to campus through a weekly online survey of 350 random stratified students. For each student, the study ascertains across time the number of people with COVID-19 they know, their location (outside Canada, in Canada, in Vancouver, in the same course, at home), and whether they are acquaintances, friends, or family. The association of these exposures, as well as financial, health-related, and general stress, is examined in relation to students’ mental health.


Medical Staff Wellness during COVID-19

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Paul Dagg

The study uses a “pop up ECHO” format to address medical staff wellness across the Interior Health Authority.


Tele-psychiatry assessment during COVID19

UBC Project Leads: Dr. David Kealy, Dr. Gabrielle Bosse-Chartier

The study examines the feasibility and effectiveness of tele-psychiatry assessments provided through Access & Assessment Centre, Vancouver General Hospital. The study evaluates patient concerns and characteristics (including distress related to COVID-19 and social distancing) with regards to the tele-psychiatry interview itself as a means of reducing patients' distress and facilitating engagement in further care.


Men's Experiences of the COVID Pandemic

UBC Project Leads: Dr. John Oliffe (Nursing), Dr. David Kealy

Survey using online questionnaires aiming to better understand men's (aged 18 years or older) experiences related to the COVID pandemic.


APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health Disaster Resilience and Trauma Working Group- COVID-19 Response

UBC Project Leads: Dr. Raymond Lam, Dr. Jill Murphy, Dr. Erin Michalak

The APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health, hosted at UBC, has convened a working group of experts from across the Asia Pacific to provide a coordinated response to the mental health effects of COVID-19 in the region. We have submitted a CIHR rapid-response Knowledge Synthesis grant entitled “Harnessing digital mental health to improve equity in mental health care in the context of COVID-19: Needs, best-practices and opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.” If successful, this grant will bring together researchers, healthcare providers, policy makers and people with lived experience in nine countries with the objective of synthesizing and mobilizing evidence to inform delivery of digital mental health care for at-risk populations across the region.


Rapid Review: Knowledge Synthesis to Support and Promote Mental Wellness and Resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic

UBC Project Leads: Dr. Haroon Ahmad (PGY2 Resident), Dr. Joseph Puyat (SPPH)

Without a vaccine, effective treatment and herd immunity, public health approaches to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to depend on measures such as isolation, quarantine, physical distancing, and personal hygiene. Some of these measures when prolonged and implemented en masse can have severe unintended consequences on mental health. Because access to the in-person health care system may be limited during the COVID-19 public health emergency, alternative, home-based activities and resources that have potential therapeutic and protective value against symptoms of mental illness need to be explored and identified. Our objective is to synthesize the available evidence on home-based activities and resources that can improve and maintain population mental health in times of public health restrictions.


Predicting the risk of developing mental and substance use disorders due to COVID-19: machine learning applied to health service utilization data to facilitate access to effective treatments

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Daniel Vigo 

This study aims to develop a model to predict mental and substance use outcomes  through comparison of subgroups of the population of BC, Canada based on their  “level of exposure” to COVID-19.


Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Psychological, Social and Behavioral Reactions

UBC Project Leads: Dr. Anita DeLongis, Dr. Nancy Sin, Department of Psychology


City Shutdown as a Response to COVID-19: Understanding Human Experiences and Mental Health Consequences of the Quarantine in Wuhan

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Yue Qian, Department of Sociology


COVID-19 and Wellbeing Study

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Joelle LeMoult, Department of Psychology


Healthcare Provider PTSD: The Certain and Uncertain Challenges of COVID-19

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Judy Illes, Division of Neurology


Neurological consequences of COVID-19

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Judy Illes, Division of Neurology


Learning in a Time of Crisis: Creating a Canadian COVID-19 Registry

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Corinne Hohl, Department of Emergency Medicine


Physical activity and well-being during a period of pandemic

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Guy Faulkner, School of Kinesiology


Sociocultural and behavioural factors affecting communities' response to countermeasures for COVID-19 epidemic: identifying interventions to build trust

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Julie Bettinger, School of Population and Public Health


Understanding the effects of public health outbreak control policies and implementation on individuals and communities: a path to improving COVID-19 policy effectiveness

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Julie Bettinger, School of Population and Public Health


THRIVE (Tracking Health and Relationships In Varying Everyday contexts) Study

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Christiane Hoppmann, Department of Psychology


COVID Elicited Responses to Sexual Health

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Lori Brotto, Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry

The study examines the impact of COVID19 on sexual health across Canada.


COVID-19 RESPONSE: Rapid Evidence Study of a Provincial Population Based Cohort for Gender and Sex

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Lori Brotto, Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry

#TalkBD: Online Community Gathering

CREST.BD has been hosting online community gatherings throughout to support patients with bipolar disorder and their families. For detail please go to

Coping During COVID-19
UBC Project Lead: Heather Fulton

Therapy group (CBT-based) offered virtually through Zoom. The study evaluates the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of the intervention.

Resources for Supporting Clinicians by BC Psych Online

Updates about the COVID19 pandemic and resources for maintaining wellness can be found here:


Physician Health Program

The Physician Health Program is available to physicians, residents, medical students and their families. Call the 24-hour helpline at 1-800-663-6729 or visit their website for more information. Weekly Physician Peer Support Sessions: Email for details.


Resources for Supporting Staff, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Residents:



Postdocs & Grad Students:


NEW COVID-19 Funding and Information

  • VCHRI is funding COVID-19 research. Deadline to apply is May 1 at Noon. More information can be found here.
  • The Faculty of Medicine has launched a COVID-19 Strategic Investment Fund. There are two rounds. The deadlines are May 10 and June 7. More information can be found here.
  • The Faculty of Medicine has started a running list of COVID-19 research funding opportunities. You can find it here.
  • Health Data Research Network Canada has launched a new resource page that provides information and supports for COVID-19 related research across Canada. You can find this here.

More Funding Opportunities and Information

  • A list of major funding opportunities can be found here.
  • COVID-19 industrial postdoc fellowship. Deadline to apply is May 15. More information can be found here.
  • MSFHR COVID-19 program funding information can be found here. Deadline to apply is May 19.
  • Resources for researchers studying COVID-19 from the BC Academic Health Science Network can be found here.
  • NRC continues to put out COVID-19 funding opportunities here.
  • NSERC has extended their Discovery Grants. More information about this can be found here.
  • CIHR COVID-19 information can be found here