New UW study tracks COVID-19 mental impacts on hundreds of King County residents

SEATTLE - The University of Washington is conducting research over the next couple of months to see how the coronavirus is impacting our mental health.

About 500 King County residents are taking part in the study. Every night, the participants answer questions that focus on their mental health. Specifically, the questions center around anxiety, depression, and social factors.

“If people are suffering right now, we want to know about it,” said Lily Slater.

Slater is one of the research assistants for the study.

She says early results have shown spikes in mental stressors at different points of the virus pandemic, but it is too early to denote the exact causes.

“What we do expect is some increase over the next few weeks,” said Slater.

The goal is to begin posting the findings while the study is still in progress, to allow policy makers, health officials, and the public to see the results.

“We would like to make our data available as soon as possible so that we can prevent anyone from suffering in the next few months,” said Slater.

Slater says regular exercise, sleep, maintaining a normal schedule, and checking in with family and friends are all helpful ways to deal with the mental stressors created from the coronavirus.

She says anyone who is seeking help for mental health can reach out to NAMI Seattle.

The research is unfunded, but if funding becomes available, the hope is to expand the sample size and extend the amount of time the research is conducted.

For more information on the research click here.