COVID-19 and Mental Health

This miniseries on COVID-19 and mental health publishes 5 research articles and their related discussant comments, reporting on the data from the UCL-Penn Global COVID Study, Lessons from COVID-19: Reflections, Resilience and Recovery. You can read more about the study below (click here).

People’s wellbeing is intimately linked to their environment including the place in which they live. This series will build towards examining some of the linkages that have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of these findings will likely read across to the journals broader special series on COVID-19 interactions with our environment.

The UCL-Penn Global COVID Study launched in April 2020 is a 12-month longitudinal study of the impact of COVID-19 on social trust, mental health, and physical health. In collaboration with 6 institutions from Italy, Singapore, USA, China, and the UK,  the study looks at the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on individual’s mental health and social relationships with others.

Held online between the 2nd June and 28th July 2021, the study group ran five online webinars (one for each article) discussing the lessons learned and to speak on the policy relevance and implications of the study, with invited policy makers and other subject experts. The recorded comments from these discussions focusing on the policy relevance and implications of each academic article will be published as a ‘discussant’ article alongside the academic article. 

Article list

All research articles published in this miniseries will undergo open peer review in the UCL Open: Environment preprint server as per the journals standard peer review process. Links to the articles in this list will direct readers to the latest version of the article; articles will appear in the list as and when they are submitted as preprints and then subsequently officially published after open peer review. Decisions to publish are made by the named Handling Editor after peer review – readers are made aware of who the Handling Editor are, found in the comments section of each submitted preprint version. Read more about how peer review works in the journal here.

Please note that all preprint articles are declared as not yet peer reviewed.


Self-Perceived Loneliness and Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic: a Two-Wave Replication Study

  • Authors: Gianluca Esposito, Andrea Bizzego, Alessandro Carollo, Giulio Gabrieli
  • Discussant paper by (in press): Kasley Killam (Founder and President of Social Health labs – @SocialHealthLab)


A three-wave network analysis of COVID-19’s impact on schizotypal traits, paranoia and mental health through loneliness

  • Author: Keri Ka-Yee Wong, Yi Wang, Gianluca Esposito, Adrian Raine
  • Discussant paper by (in press): Dr Emma Barkus (University of Northumbria, UK) and Mitch Cooke (Head of Sustainability, Greengage Environmental)


Child Externalizing and Internalizing Behavior and Parental Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Author: Jill Portnoy, AnaCristina Bedoya, Keri Ka-Yee Wong
  • Discussant paper by (in press): Dr Yahayra Michel (School of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA)


The effects of cumulative stressful educational events on the mental health of doctoral students during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Authors: Vasilis Sideropoulos, Emily Midouhas, Dora Kokosi, Jana Brinkert, Keri Ka-Yee Wong, Maria A. Kambouri
  • Discussant paper by (in press): Dr Tara Beteille (Senior Economist, The World Bank)


Reflections, Resilience, and Recovery: A qualitative study of the COVID-19 impact on an international general population’s mental health and priorities for support

  • Author: Keri Ka-Yee Wong, Kimberly Loke, Kyleigh Marie Kai-Li Melville
  • Discussant paper by (in press): Deborah Alina (MBE, Chief Executive, Independent Age), Professor David Murphy (Clinical Psychologist, The British Psychological Society President 2019-2020, BPS COVID-Response Group Lead), and Nigel Atter (Policy Advisor, The British Psychological Society)

The UCL-Penn Global COVID Study

The Covid-19: Global study of social trust and mental health study aims to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting mental and physical health, and how findings may inform policies in the coming months and/or assist in future crisis management strategies. Data collection has taken place over the past 12 months (between April-July 2020, October-January 2021, April-July 2021). The study website can be found online at https://globalcovidstudy.com and study details can be found at https://osf.io/fe8q7.


This study examines the short- and longer-term effects of COVID-19 on people’s mental health, physical health and social trust in others. This study involves three online surveys administered in April 2020, 6 months, and 12 months from then, 6 months, and 12 months to participants 18+ years and resident of any country. The survey is available in 7 languages.

Research Team

  • Dr. Keri Ka-Yee Wong (PI), UCL Institute of Education, UCL, UK
  • Professor Adrian Raine (Co-I), University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Dr Gianluca Esposito (Collaborator), University of Trento Italy & Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Dr Jill Portnoy (Collaborator), The University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA


This project received full ethics approval of the UCL Institute of Education on 8 April 2020 (REC 1331). Documentation available upon request. The survey launched online on 17 April 2020.


Review for us

If you are interested in contributing to this special series as a potential reviewer, please contact the series Editors with a brief outline of your interest and area of expertise, to uclopen.environment@ucl.ac.uk

How it works

Operating dually as an open access e-journal and offering immediate publication in a dedicated preprint server, with open peer review, the entire publishing process is accessible, transparent and accountable.

Related series’

UCL Open: Environment is running this on-going call for papers concerned with the effects on the environment that are and will be consequential on the societal restrictions and subsequent recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more at https://ucl-about.scienceopen.com/covid19-specialseries