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Mental Health Accessibility and Psychology in Practice: COVID-19 & Mental Health

This research guide was created by the 2019-20 Library Research Fellow Gabby Collins in partnership with the Undergraduate Library Fellows Program.

Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 brings with it not only major physical health concerns, but also significant mental health concerns, many of which may draw from worries about one's own physical health or that of loved ones, concerns over economic security during a time of increased unemployment, and fear caused by stigma, prejudice, bias, and discrimination. The pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequities; it has produced a rise in hate-crimes against Asian and Asian-American folks, it has left many folks unemployed and thus without income and insurance during a global pandemic, and it has been particularly hard on Indigenous and Black communities as a direct result of redlining, environmental racism, discrimination in healthcare and in hiring, and many other factors. All of these effects and more may represent for many folks and communities a collective trauma, and thus taking care of our own and others' mental health at this time is of utmost importance. 

Current Library Resources on Psychology and Pandemics

Research in Psychology and COVID-19

One way students studying psychology might facilitate community care during and long after the pandemic, in addition to activism, may be through generating research that attempts to directly better mental health treatments, better mental healthcare accessibility, better our understanding of the spread of misinformation and echo chambers, and better our understanding of bias and discrimination.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is still new and there are many unknowns, there may be few articles on the psychological impacts of the pandemic in databases that UC Berkeley students can access through the UC Berkeley Library System, though this will likely change as time goes on. If research on the psychological impacts of COVID-19 and other pandemics is an area of interest for you, the APA has some open access articles by psychologists on the subject that can be found here.

If you'd like more info on what open access is and more open access journals, check out this other LibGuide within the Psychology LibGuides:

Psychology: eJournals & Open Access

Additionally, the UC Berkeley Library System has some books on the psychology of pandemics, a few listed in the "Current Library Resources on Psychology and Pandemics" box. If you're interested in this field and would like to make a recommendation of books to add to the Library on the subject, feel free to use this link to add suggestions!

Mental Wellness During COVID-19

Taking care of our mental health can be particularly difficult at the moment, with many of us being unable to see the people we love who often bring us comfort. For now, some tips and resources that might be helpful might include:

  • Pursuing therapy via online forms, which can be just as effective as in-person therapy (more information in the "Home" tab on accessing therapists).
  • Limit news intake about COVID-19  to a certain time of day or a certain length of time if it is becoming anxiety-inducing or overwhelming.
  • Schedule regular video chat sessions with loved ones to maintain social contact, even if you can't physically be together.
  • Remind yourself that feelings brought about by the pandemic are normal, and people handle things differently; your friend may be able to "get a lot done" while working from home, but if you're feeling tired and unmotivated, that is a completely normal response to a global pandemic. If you need, ask for extensions on work where possible, and let yourself take rests as needed.
  • Apply for or donate to Mutual Aid Funds, which can help folks, particularly those at the margins, get basic needs met and relieve worries over basic needs. Some Mutual Aid Funds in the Bay Area can be found here.
  • Check out the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center's COVID-19 living document, which has tons of resources for folks in this tough time
  • Check out this interactive map from the Othering & Belonging Institute, that attempts to direct funding from organizations and nonprofits to communities in CA most in need of support, and provides some other resources, such as locations where kids can get free or reduced price meals.