Optimising Wellbeing in Social Isolation Study


The Optimising Wellbeing during Self-isolation (OWLS) study examines how people with serious mental ill health problems are affected by the current pandemic.

We want to know whether:

  • people are able to access health services when they need to
  • they are able to use the internet to access services and contact friends, and if they are feeling lonely
  • they made any changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 such as stopping smoking

The results of the study will be used to make recommendations about how best to support people with severe mental illness during a pandemic, and how to reduce the impact of pandemic restrictions.

People with severe mental ill health (SMI) such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder experience some of the most profound health inequalities of any sector of society and are at greater risk of being affected by COVID-19 and the pandemic restrictions. This is because they are more likely to live in impoverished circumstances and are less likely to be able to access the internet. Many people with mental health problems have physical health problems too, which may mean they are in a group that needs to isolate for long periods of time.

We will carry out an initial survey of over 300 people with SMI, and follow up with interviews. Participants will be followed up over 12 months. Follow up questionnaires will be developed, with information from the initial survey, allowing participants’ health and wellbeing to be mapped over time.


Currently Underway

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