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BEHANDLING-God og treffsikker diagnostikk, behandling og rehabilitering

Covid-19 and impact on mental health: a longitudinal, multi-national study (C-Me)

Alternative title: Effects of the corona pandemic on individual mental health

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

The corona pandemic represents the largest global health crisis of this century. Although Norway so far has successfully limited spread of the virus, the mitigating factors and the general stress amidst the pandemic may have affected the population’s mental health. There is an urgent need for research on the putative consequences to mental health across the pandemic for the population in Norway. The research project C-Me will use data from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child cohort (MoBa) to answer key questions regarding the mental health impact (i.e. anxiety, depression, eating disorders) of Covid-19 in the adolescent and adult population. In MoBa more than 90 000 families have volunteered with information on mental and physical health with repeated questionnaires, as well as provided blood samples. In addition, we will combine MoBa data with information from public health registries. Since MoBa includes data from before the pandemic, we will be able to track mental health changes across the pandemic considering the pre-pandemic mental health. We will investigate if and to what degree factors like job loss, corona infection, or homeschooling have led to stress and psychiatric symptoms in vulnerable individuals. One key advantage of C-Me is the available genetic data, which may be used to investigate the interplay between genetic vulnerability for mental disorders and environmental factors across the pandemic. By collaboration with partners from other Nordic countries and Estonia, where similar data have been collected during the pandemic, we will be able to compare mental health effects across countries with varying burden of Covid-19 and mitigating factors. C-Me will not only give new knowledge on the effect of the pandemic, but also how people in general cope with individual or societal stressors. The corona pandemic may thus serve as a model to study how social unrest and major shifts in everyday life may impact on the individuals’ mental health.

The spread of Covid-19 represents the largest global health crisis of this century. Although Norway so far has successfully limited spread of the virus, preliminary evidence indicate that the population's mental health has been negatively affected. Now there is an urgent need for high-quality, longitudinal and multinational research on mental health, including pre-Covid-19 data. C-Me will use longitudinal and genetic data from the largest birth cohort study ever conducted – the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child cohort (MoBa) including pre-Covid-19 data, linked with diagnostic data from health registries to answer key questions regarding the mental health impact (i.e. anxiety, depression, eating disorders) of Covid-19 in the adolescent and adult population. We will delineate mental health trajectories from before, during and after the pandemic and investigate to what extent mental health (symptoms and disorders) are predicted by pre-pandemic characteristics (e.g. previous disorders, social disadvantage) and peri-pandemic factors (e.g. job loss, Covid-19 infection, home-schooling). Crucially, our project enables unique investigations of gene-environment interplay in the development of mental health problems during the pandemic. We also capitalize on already funded Nordic-Estonian research infrastructures and will compare Covid-19 mental health impact across five countries. The resulting empirical platform will provide suggestions on how adolescents and adults can best be supported to resume to normal life, or the “new normal”. Knowledge obtained will be crucial for adapting healthcare policies to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups after the pandemic, and to prepare healthcare policies for future crises. C-Me will provide unique insight into the development of mental health problems and resilience, with high relevance beyond the pandemic situation.

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BEHANDLING-God og treffsikker diagnostikk, behandling og rehabilitering