CLOSER Policy alert – New POSTnote: Mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults

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Woman wearing a face mask sits on a bus looking out the windowCLOSER’s COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub has been cited in a new research briefing published by the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).

Part of the POSTnote series of briefings for parliamentarians, ‘Mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults’ outlines direct and indirect mental health consequences of the pandemic, the groups most affected and their mental health outcomes. The briefing also discusses policy approaches to protect mental health and how healthcare services can adapt to improve the support available.

Rob Davies, Head of CLOSER’s COVID-19 Taskforce, contributed to the POSTnote on behalf of CLOSER and our partner studies.

He said: “A unique aspect of longitudinal population studies and key advantage compared to other studies is their ability to study change within individuals as a result of the pandemic. This is because they also have pre-pandemic measures of health and behaviours on the same people, with many having followed them throughout their lives.”

CLOSER’s COVID-19 Taskforce launched the COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub in June 2020 to capture and showcase the response to the pandemic by the longitudinal research community. Containing all the new surveys, data releases, latest research and evidence and expert opinion in one place, the Hub is a one-stop resource for researchers, parliamentarians and policy makers, now and in the future.

This latest POSTnote cites mental health research from a wide array of UK longitudinal population studies, highlighting the vital insights these studies offer to better our understanding of the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic. Longitudinal studies noted in the briefing include:

  • 1958, 1970, 2000-01 British birth cohorts and Next Steps
  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
  • English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
  • Understanding Society: the UK Household Panel Survey

The briefing features longitudinal evidence on a range of topics, including the mental health inequalities in healthcare, economic, and social disruption during the pandemic, as well as the experiences of home-carers and older adults instructed to shield, and the impacts of the pandemic on risky behaviours, including alcohol consumptiondisordered eating and self-harm.

All of the longitudinal research cited in the latest POSTnote can be found in our COVID-19 Research Tracker – an easy-to-use, interactive tool containing pandemic-related academic publications, briefing notes, and reports using data from the UK and Ireland’s longitudinal population studies.

Access the POSTnote: Mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults

Explore CLOSER’s COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub for further information.


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