New Publications from RESPOND

We are pleased to share that six new publications authored by RESPOND members have been released. These papers delve into various aspects of mental health research in the COVID-19 pandemic, from the effects of the pandemic on healthcare workers and vulnerable groups to psychological resilience factors and their association with stressors. We invite you to explore these insightful publications below.

1. García-Vázquez, B., Martínez-Alés, G., Fernández-Jiménez, E., Andreo-Jover, J., Moreno-Küstner, B., Minué, S., … & Mediavilla, R. (2023). Use of psychological interventions among healthcare workers over the 2-year period following the COVID-19 pandemic: A longitudinal study. Plos one, 18(10), e0292932.

Healthcare workers (HCWs) in Spain have faced mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with low utilization of psychological support. This longitudinal study explores the use of psychological support among HCWs over a 2-year period following the pandemic’s onset. Findings show an increase from 15% to 23% in HCWs seeking psychological support. Roughly one in four HCWs who did not use psychological support reported symptoms compatible with major depressive disorder at follow up. The study emphasizes the need for workplace mental health promotion and improved access to psychological support for HCWs.

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2. Lorant, V., Smith, P., Duveau, C., Seeber, K., Bryant, R. A., Mittendorfer-Rutz, E., … & Nicaise, P. (2023). Psychological distress and online advice-seeking in times of COVID-19: vertical and horizontal equity of an e-mental health strategy. Current Psychology, 1-12.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in psychological distress, coupled with a decrease in in-person mental health services. To bridge this gap, online mental health care expanded across Europe. This study in Belgium explored how online advice-seeking related to mental health needs and whether different groups sought advice equally. Findings showed that 29% sought advice online in April, decreasing to one-fifth in June and November. Individuals with higher distress were more likely to seek online advice. Women, younger individuals, those with higher education, and less social support tended to seek advice more. This suggests online mental health care aligns with vertical equity, but sociodemographic factors played a key role in seeking advice. The study highlights the need to focus on older and less well educated men’s access to online services and ongoing assessment for effectiveness.

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3. Bögemann, S. A., Puhlmann, L. M., Wackerhagen, C., Zerban, M., Riepenhausen, A., Köber, G., … & Kalisch, R. (2023). Psychological Resilience Factors and Their Association With Weekly Stressor Reactivity During the COVID-19 Outbreak in Europe: Prospective Longitudinal Study. JMIR Mental Health, 10(1), e46518.

This study examined the relationship between psychosocial resilience factors (RFs) and resilience, measured as low mental health reactivity to stress (low “stressor reactivity” [SR]) during the aftermath of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants reported weekly stressors, mental health, RFs, and demographics over 5 weeks in multiple languages. The findings revealed that positive appraisal style (PAS), optimism (OPT), general self-efficacy (GSE), good stress recovery (REC), and perceived social support (PSS) were negatively associated with SR scores both at baseline and in subsequent weeks. PAS also mediated the effects of PSS on SR. Additionally, factors such as positive appraisal of stressors and general self-efficacy were negatively associated with SR in a contemporaneous manner, but not in a lagged fashion. These findings underscore the predictive role of psychological factors in resilience, particularly the importance of positive appraisal style.

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4. Lotito, C., Turrini, G., Purgato, M., Bryant, R. A., Felez-Nobrega, M., Haro, J. M., … & Barbui, C. (2023). Views and experiences of migrants and stakeholders involved in social and health care for migrants in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study. BMC psychology, 11(1), 164.

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted mental health worldwide, with disproportionate effects on vulnerable populations such as migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. To address this, a study in Verona, Italy, investigated the mental health needs of these groups to guide the development of psychological intervention programs. Adult asylum seekers, refugees, migrants (ARMs), and stakeholders participated in qualitative methods including free listing interviews and focus group discussions. Results revealed that ARMs faced significant challenges in their resettlement country during the pandemic, influenced by social and economic factors affecting mental health. Participants highlighted a gap between needs, expectations, and available interventions, which may hinder effective program implementation. These findings provide insights for adapting and implementing psychological interventions tailored to the needs of ARMs, aiming for better alignment between needs and interventions.

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5. Roos, R., Witteveen, A. B., Ayuso-Mateos, J. L., Barbui, C., Bryant, R. A., Felez-Nobrega, M., … & RESPOND Consortium. (2023). Effectiveness of a scalable, remotely delivered stepped-care intervention to reduce symptoms of psychological distress among Polish migrant workers in the Netherlands: study protocol for the RESPOND randomised controlled trial. BMC psychiatry, 23(1), 801.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on the mental well-being of international migrant workers (IMWs), who often face challenges in accessing mental health services. In response, two World Health Organization (WHO) interventions, Doing What Matters in times of stress (DWM) and Problem Management Plus (PM+), were adapted to address these barriers. This study aims to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a remotely delivered stepped-care program, DWM/PM+, in reducing psychological distress among Polish migrant workers residing in the Netherlands. The trial will involve 212 participants with self-reported psychological distress, randomized into intervention or control groups. Primary outcomes include psychological distress measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire Anxiety and Depression Scale (PHQ-ADS), with secondary outcomes assessing symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, resilience, quality of life, and cost-effectiveness, and a process evaluation to gather stakeholders’ perspectives on the implementation of DWM/PM+. This trial presents an innovative approach by combining scalable WHO interventions into a stepped-care program, potentially addressing the mental health treatment gap experienced by IMWs.

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6. Melchior, M., Figueiredo, N., Roversi, A., Dubanchet, A., Bui, E., Vadell-Martínez, J., … & Tortelli, A. (2023). Addressing mental health problems among persons without stable housing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: study protocol for a randomised trial. RESPOND–France. BMC public health, 23(1), 2275.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mental health on a broad scale, particularly affecting those facing socioeconomic challenges who often struggle to access mental health services. To address these hurdles, the WHO developed two scalable interventions: the web-based DWM and the face-to-face PM+. This study examines the effectiveness of a stepped-care program utilizing DWM and PM+ among individuals in unstable housing situations in France, many of whom are migrants or asylum seekers. This randomised controlled trial aims to assess outcomes such as depression and anxiety symptoms using the PHQ-ADS scale, offering insights into scalable strategies for vulnerable populations with limited access to mental health care.

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To access these publications and learn more about the research conducted by RESPOND members, please visit our Resources page.

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