A behavioural science approach to evaluate the prevalence and predictors of COVID-19-related mental health issues and maladaptive behavioural coping (MBC) to inform the development of strategies for tailored interventions
COVID‑19 will lead to an increase in mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder) and maladaptive behavioural coping (e.g., drinking alcohol, taking drugs, taking out our frustrations on loved ones). However, not everyone will be affected or affected in the same way. In order to ensure that the eight people are getting the services they need, we need to understand what kinds of mental health and maladaptive behavioural coping problems are occurring, who they are occurring in, and how best to engage these individuals in the care that is available. The proposed project will be an ‘add-on’ to an ongoing Canadian-led large international online study looking at the impacts of COVID‑19 (The iCARE study: [www.mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19](http://www.mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19)). It will see how people are feeling and coping with COVID-19, in a diverse group of Canadians (men, women, young, old) – using representative sampling, over the next several months. The ‘mental health and maladaptive behavioural coping’ module will be completed with the main iCARE survey 5 times between July 2020 and January 2021 (a total of 15,000 responses). The questions in the module were developed using behavioural science theory and are similar to those being used in other international studies, meaning that what is happening in Canada can be compared to what is happening in other countries. This project will provide information on the ‘real-time’ impacts of COVID‑19 on mental health and how people are coping among Canadians over the coming months. More importantly, we will be able to understand who is most at risk, what kinds of support, treatments and services they need, and how best to engage them in the available services. This information will be passed on to the federal and provincial governments to help them develop better strategies to “flatten the mental health curve” and improve quality of life outcomes in Canadians negatively impacted by COVID-19.