The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the science of COVID-19 will resume tomorrow (Tuesday, 22 September 2020), with a focus on the mental health effects of the pandemic.
Following on from its session last week exploring the long-term health implications of COVID-19, this session will first focus on the mental health effects of the illness upon patients who suffer a severe case and/or prolonged issues with 'long-COVID', as well as the effects on their families and health and care staff.
The Committee will hear about the mental health effects of the pandemic and the response, including upon vulnerable groups, children and people with pre-existing mental health conditions. The Committee will seek to determine where research is required to understand the effects, and also what health care services will be needed now and in the longer term.
Witnesses will include:
- Dr Michael Bloomfield, Head of Translational Psychiatry Research Group, UCL; and Co-founder, COVID Traumatic Stress Clinic.
- Professor Matthew Hotopf, Vice Dean of Research, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London; and Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre.
- Dr Nichola Rooney, Consultant Clinical Psychologist; Professor, Queen's University Belfast; and Northern Ireland Chair of Division of Clinical Psychology, British Psychology Society
- Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK.
- Dr Tamsin Ford CBE, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Cambridge
- Professor Sonia Johnson, Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry, UCL.
The session is expected to address a number of issues, including:
- Does the NHS have the expertise, capacity and coordination to offer longer-term psychological treatment to those who have suffered traumatic experiences of serious illness, or who are suffering with prolonged symptoms of 'long COVID'?
- Have support services for staff been expanded ahead of the anticipated resurgence of the virus in the winter?
- What are the effects on bereaved families who have experienced "complicated grief" during the pandemic?
- If further restrictions need to be introduced again in future, could anything be done differently to reduce the mental health effects on people who are isolated, in particular, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions?
- To what extent are children experiencing mental health effects, whether obvious or subtle, and could these lead to difficulties in future?
The session can be followed live at www.parliamentlive.tv from 10 am, Tuesday, 22 September 2020.