Coronavirus, mental health and the brain

The Academy of Medical Sciences and MQ have rapidly convened an expert group to develop mental health and neuroscience research priorities relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The expert group will publish its outputs within approximately two weeks (April 2020) in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, with the intention of urgently mobilising and coordinating the UK’s mental health and neuroscience research response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The likely significant mental health and neuroscience impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic require an urgent and sustained research response. The world is rightly focused at present on measures to suppress transmission and protect the most vulnerable, along with research to develop a vaccine, but it is vital that mental health and neuroscience forms part of all aspects of the research response.

On 25 March 2020, Professor Sir Robert Lechler, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and Dr Helen Munn, CEO of MQ, wrote to UK funders and related groups calling for the establishment of a high level co-ordination group to ensure that the mental health and neuroscience research priorities are addressed as swiftly as possible, and that a firm base is established for the necessary long term studies.

To ensure the deliberations of the expert group are informed by the views of broader communities, we are rapidly surveying members of the public with and without lived exerience of a mental illness, carers, healthcare professionals and those with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

As part of this, we want to hear your biggest concerns about the mental health, neuroscience and wellbeing implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It could be a concern you have for individuals experiencing mental health problems as a result of the pandemic, or how people with existing mental health conditions might be affected. Or it might be about how to support the mental health and wellbeing aspects of isolation and social distancing, or the impact on different populations.

Click here to take part in the survey. This survey will run until Friday 27 March 2020 so that insights can feed into the expert group’s ongoing work.

For more information on our work on this project, please visit our dedicated policy project page on coronavirus, mental health and neuroscience, or contact Claire Cope, Head of Policy, at

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