As time passes and the population is experiencing the repercussions of the COVID-19, it is evident that the pandemic is a risk to our physical health, but also to our mental health. Indeed, news reports about loss of life, combined with social and physical distancing, can have negative impact on mental health for many people, which can lead to diverse coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. To study the impacts of the virus on mental health, the Government of Canada launched the “COVID-19 and Mental Health Initiative”. This program includes competitions focusing on building and synthesizing the evidence base to address gaps in the mental health and substance use response to COVID-19, and the identification of relevant interventions.
Bishop’s University will be actively participating in this Initiative thanks to Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise of the Department of Psychology. Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise, together with Dr. Chantal Camden from the École de réadaptation de la Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé de l’Université de Sherbrooke and researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHUS, will be leading a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team from Bishop’s University, Université de Sherbrooke, McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université de Trois-Rivières. The Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use grant, awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), will enable knowledge syntheses and knowledge mobilization plans to support health services related to mental health, and to offer accessible evidence to decision makers at different level, in a rapid timeframe.
They will be reviewing the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of children aged 5-12 years old, with a particular emphasis on handicapped or chronically ill children, with the goal of finding promising avenues of intervention. Recent surveys indicate that children are also suffering from the lack of social interaction and changes in their routine caused by the pandemic. School-age children, especially those with handicaps or chronic illnesses, can suffer from anxiety and other mental health problems. This research will help supporting all Canadian parents and children through the pandemic and its repercussions.
Congratulations to Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise and this very talented team of researchers!
To help maintain your mental health during the pandemic, setting routines and picking up hobbies can be of great help. As for Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, she focused on painting (and family and research, of course)! If you want to see her “Quarantine” art series, visit her Twitter account @Mindful_Cat