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.

 

 

Advancing Mental Health Equity in a post-COVID-19 Asia-Pacific

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Raymond Lam
Co-PIs: Jill Murphy, Erin Michalak
Granting Agency: UBC Office of the VP Research and Innovation

Years: 2021-2022

This grant will support the creation of an emerging UBC cluster of research excellence, ‘Advancing Mental Health Equity in a post-COVID-19 Asia-Pacific’ (‘the Asia-Pacific Equity cluster’). Our overarching vision is to significantly advance mental health research and knowledge exchange (KE) in a post-COVID Asia-Pacific within the context of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)-informed framework.

 

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

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Steven Taylor
Co-PI: Gordon Asmundson
Granting Agency: CIHR
Years: 2020-2021

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.” (See below)

 

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

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Raymond Lam
Co-Investigators: Jill Murphy, Erin Michalak
Granting Agency: CIHR COVID-19 Knowledge Synthesis

Years: May 2020 – October 2020 (ongoing with extension)

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.

 

Understanding and managing COVID stress syndrome

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Steven Taylor
Co-PI: Gordon Asmundson
Granting Agency: Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

Years: 2020-2021

 

Longitudinal Mental Health Sequelae, Needs, and Resource Access in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era: Provincial Survey to identify Vulnerable children and families in British Columbia

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Evelyn Stewart
Co-PI:
Hasina Samji
Granting Agency: BC Ministry of Health COVID-19 Research Priorities
Years: December 2020 – ongoing

 

Personal Impact of COVID Survey

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Evelyn Stewart
Co-PI:
Hasina Samji
Granting Agency: BC Centre for Disease Control
Years: February 2021 – ongoing

 

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

 

Neurological Complications of COVID-19

UBC Project Lead: Dr. Cheryl Wellington
Co-Investigators: Myp Sekhon, William Panenka, Ed Conway, Thalia Field, William Honer, Jon Stoessl, Noah Silverberg, Sophie Stukas, Ryan Holland
Granting Agency: Weston Brain Institute
Years: 2020-2024

This study aims to provide an objective characterization of acute neurologic injury in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019.

2021

 

Thompson D, Delorme CM, White RF, Honer WG (2021) Elevated clozapine levels and toxic effects after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. J Psychiatry Neurosci (in press).

 

Asmundson GJG, Taylor S. Garbage in, garbage out: The tenuous state of research on PTSD in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and infodemic. J Anxiety Disord. 2021;78:102368. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2021.102368

 

Gratzer D, Torous J, Lam RW, Patten SB, Kutcher S, Chan S, Vigo D, Pajer K, Yatham LN. Our Digital Moment: Innovations and Opportunities in Digital Mental Health Care. Can J Psychiatry. 2021;66(1):5-8. doi: 10.1177/0706743720937833

 

Khosravani V, Asmundson GJG, Taylor S, Sharifi Bastan F, Samimi Ardestani SM. The Persian COVID stress scales (Persian-CSS) and COVID-19-related stress reactions in patients with obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders. J Obsessive Compuls Relat Disord. 2021;28:100615. doi: 10.1016/j.jocrd.2020.100615

 

Krausz RM, Wong JSH, Westenberg JN, Choi F, Schütz CG, Jang KL. Canada's Response to the Dual Public Health Crises: A Cautionary Tale. Can J Psychiatry. 2021;706743721993634. doi: 10.1177/0706743721993634

 

Ogrodniczuk JS, Rice SM, Kealy D, Seidler ZE, Delara M, Oliffe JL. Psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study of online help-seeking Canadian men. Postgrad Med. 2021:1-10. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2021.1873027

 

Paluszek MM, Asmundson AJN, Landry CA, McKay D, Taylor S, Asmundson GJG. Effects of anxiety sensitivity, disgust, and intolerance of uncertainty on the COVID stress syndrome: a longitudinal assessment of transdiagnostic constructs and the behavioural immune system. Cogn Behav Ther. 2021:1-13. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2021.1877339

 

Taylor S, Asmundson GJG. Negative attitudes about facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic: The dual importance of perceived ineffectiveness and psychological reactance. PLoS One. 2021;16(2):e0246317. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246317

 

Taylor S, Paluszek MM, Rachor GS, McKay D, Asmundson GJG. Substance use and abuse, COVID-19-related distress, and disregard for social distancing: A network analysis. Addict Behav. 2021;114:106754. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106754

 

Taylor S. Understanding and managing pandemic-related panic buying. J Anxiety Disord. 2021;78:102364. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2021.10236

 

2020

Cooper J, Stukas S, Hoiland RL, Fergusson NA, Thiara S, Foster D, Mitra A, Stoessl JA, Panenka WJ, Sekhon MS, Wellington CL. Quantification of Neurological Blood-Based Biomarkers in Critically Ill Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019. Crit Care Explor. 2020 Oct 2;2(10):e0238. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000238.

 

Asmundson GJG, Paluszek MM, Landry CA, Rachor GS, McKay D, Taylor S. Do pre-existing anxiety-related and mood disorders differentially impact COVID-19 stress responses and coping? J Anxiety Disord. 2020;74:102271. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102271 

 

Asmundson GJG, Taylor S. How health anxiety influences responses to viral outbreaks like COVID-19: What all decision-makers, health authorities, and health care professionals need to know. J Anxiety Disord. 2020;71:102211. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102211

 

Danilewitz M, Ainsworth NJ, Bahji A, Chan P, Rabheru K. Virtual psychiatric care for older adults in the age of COVID-19: Challenges and opportunities. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020:10.1002/gps.5372. doi: 10.1002/gps.5372

 

Farhoudian A, Baldacchino A, Clark N, Gerra G, Ekhtiari H, Dom G, Mokri A, Sadeghi M, Nematollahi P, Demasi M, Schütz CG, Hash-Emian SM, Tabarsi P, Galea-Singer S, Carrà G, Clausen T, Kouimtsidis C, Tolomeo S, Radfar SR, Razaghi EM. COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorders: Recommendations to a Comprehensive Healthcare Response. An International Society of Addiction Medicine Practice and Policy Interest Group Position Paper. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2020;11(2):133-150. doi: 10.32598/bcn.11.covid19.1

 

Krausz M, Westenberg JN, Vigo D, Spence RT, Ramsey D. Emergency Response to COVID-19 in Canada: Platform Development and Implementation for eHealth in Crisis Management. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020;6(2):e18995. doi: 10.2196/18995

 

Moser DA, Glaus J, Frangou S, Schechter DS. Years of life lost due to the psychosocial consequences of COVID-19 mitigation strategies based on Swiss data. Eur Psychiatry. 2020;63(1):e58. doi: 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2020.56

 

Puyat JH, Ahmad H, Avina-Galindo AM, Kazanjian A, Gupta A, Ellis U, Ashe MC, Vila-Rodriguez F, Halli P, Salmon A, Vigo D, Almeida A, De Bono CE. A rapid review of home-based activities that can promote mental wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS One. 2020;15(12):e0243125. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243125 

 

Shafran R, Coughtrey A, Whittal M. Recognising and addressing the impact of COVID-19 on obsessive-compulsive disorder. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(7):570-572. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30222-4

 

Siskind D, Honer WG, Clark S, Correll CU, Hasan A, Howes O, Kane JM, Kelly DL, Laitman R, Lee J, MacCabe JH, Myles N, Nielsen J, Schulte PF, Taylor D, Verdoux H, Wheeler A, Freudenreich O. Consensus statement on the use of clozapine during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2020;45(3):222-223. doi: 10.1503/jpn.200061

 

Sobowale K, Hilliard H, Ignaszewski MJ, Chokroverty L. Real-Time Communication: Creating a Path to COVID-19 Public Health Activism in Adolescents Using Social Media. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(12):e21886. doi: 10.2196/21886

 

Stefana A, Youngstrom EA, Chen J, Hinshaw S, Maxwell V, Michalak E, Vieta E. The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis and opportunity for bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2020;22(6):641-643. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12949

 

Taylor S, Landry CA, Paluszek MM, Fergus TA, McKay D, Asmundson GJG. COVID stress syndrome: Concept, structure, and correlates. Depress Anxiety. 2020;37(8):706-714. doi: 10.1002/da.23071

 

Taylor S, Landry CA, Paluszek MM, Fergus TA, McKay D, Asmundson GJG. Development and initial validation of the COVID Stress Scales. J Anxiety Disord. 2020; 72:102232. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102232

 

Taylor S, Landry CA, Paluszek MM, Groenewoud R, Rachor GS, Asmundson GJG. A Proactive Approach for Managing COVID-19: The Importance of Understanding the Motivational Roots of Vaccination Hesitancy for SARS-CoV2. Front Psychol  2020;11:575950. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.575950

 

Taylor S, Landry CA, Paluszek MM, Rachor GS, Asmundson GJG. Worry, avoidance, and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic: A comprehensive network analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102327

 

Taylor S, Landry CA, Rachor GS, Paluszek MM, Asmundson GJG. Fear and avoidance of healthcare workers: An important, under-recognized form of stigmatization during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Anxiety Disord. 2020; 75:102289. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102289

 

Taylor S, Landry CA, Paluszek MM, Asmundson GJG. Reactions to COVID-19: Differential predictors of distress, avoidance, and disregard for social distancing. J Affect Disord. 2020;277:94-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.002

 

Vigo D, Patten S, Pajer K, Krausz M, Taylor S, Rush B, Raviola G, Saxena S, Thornicroft G, Yatham LN. Mental Health of Communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can J Psychiatry. 2020;65(10):681-687. doi: 10.1177/0706743720926676

 

Yang T, Chen J, Lam RW, Fang Y, Xu Y. Mental Health Service Challenges during the Early Stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Experience and Best Practices from China. Can J Psychiatry. 2020:706743720972252. doi: 10.1177/0706743720972252

 

Asmundson GJG, Taylor S. How health anxiety influences responses to viral outbreaks like COVID-19: What all decision-makers, health authorities, and health care professionals need to know. J Anxiety Disord. 2020;71:102211.

 

Vigo D, Patten S, Pajer K, et al. Mental Health of Communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can J Psychiatry. 2020;706743720926676.

 

Gratzer D, Torous J, Lam R. Our Digital Moment: Innovations and Opportunities in Digital Mental Health Care. Can J Psychiatry 2020.

#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 https://www.crestbd.ca/talkbd/.

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: https://www.bcpsychonline.ca/covid-19

 

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 peersupport@physicianhealth.com for details.

 

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

Staff: https://www.hr.ubc.ca/covid-19/wellbeing-mental-health/

Students: https://students.ubc.ca/covid19/mental-health-during-covid-19-outbreak

Postdocs & Grad Students: https://grad-postdoc.med.ubc.ca/current-students/student-wellbeing/

Residents: https://postgrad.med.ubc.ca/resident-wellness/covid-19-resident-wellness-resources/

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 hereDeadline 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