Digital Interventions to Support Population Mental Health During and After the COVID‑19 Pandemic: A Knowledge Synthesis

Strudwick, Gillian | $50,000

Ontario Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Twenty percent of Canadians, or some 7 million people, will experience a mental illness in any year. This number is anticipated to rise as a result of the COVID‑19 crisis. However, the available mental health services are not adequate to support this volume of people through conventional services such as face-to-face care; and, during the time of COVID-19, nor is it appropriate or feasible to do so. Population-based interventions are increasingly needed as a way of reducing the potential mental health impacts experienced by Canadians as a result of job loss, social isolation, changes to everyday life, both now and into the foreseeable future. The purpose of this study is to synthesize and mobilize knowledge related to digital interventions that could support population mental health during and after COVID‑19 in Canada, and could be leveraged by the general population. We will also identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps that are applicable to the COVID‑19 context. By digital interventions, we refer to websites, web-based programs, electronic knowledge platforms, mobile health apps (inclusive of texting), telemedicine and social media that could be used during COVID‑19 to support mental health, but were not necessarily designed for this purpose. This study will be done in two phases. Phase 1 will consist of a rapid review of academic and grey literature. In Phase 2, an environmental scan of experts and knowledge users (inclusive of people with lived experience of mental illness) will occur as an embedded knowledge mobilization strategy. Other knowledge mobilization activities will occur after both phases conclude.

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