Qatar - Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health in Pandemics (Q-LAMP)
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Aims: QLAMP aims to identify risk factors and resilience factors for symptoms of psychiatric illness during the pandemic. Study strengths include the 1-year longitudinal design and the use of standardised instruments already available in English and Arabic. The results will increase understanding of the impact of the pandemic on mental health for better support of the population during the pandemic and in future epidemics. Until an effective vaccine is available or herd immunity is achieved, countries are likely to encounter repeated ‘waves’ of infection. The identification of at-risk groups for mental illness will inform the planning and delivery of individualized treatment including primary prevention. Methodology: Longitudinal online survey; SMS-based recruitment and social media platforms advertisements e.g. Facebook, Instagram; Online consent; Completion time for questionnaires: approx. 20 to 30 minute; Baseline questionnaire with follow up at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months; Study completion date: Sept. 2021. Inclusion Criteria: Currently living in Qatar; Qatar residents: citizens and expatriates; Age 18 years; Read Arabic or English (questionnaire and consent form available in both languages). Instruments: Sociodemographic questionnaire including personal and family experience of COVID-19 infection; Standard instruments to assess psychiatric morbidity including depression, anxiety and PTSD; Research team-designed instruments to assess social impact of pandemic; Standard questionnaires to assess resilience, personality, loneliness, religious beliefs and social networks. Results: The analysis was based on 181 observations. Approximately, 3.5% of the sample was from the sms-recruitment method. The sample of completed surveys consisted of 65.0% females and 35.0% males. Qatari respondents comprised 27.0% of the total sample, while 52% of the sample were married, 25% had Grade 12 or lower level of educational attainment, and 46.0% were unemployed. Covid-19 appears to have affected different aspects of people’s lives from personal health to living arrangements, employment, and health of family and friends. Approximately, 41% to 55% of those who responded to the survey perceived changes in their stress levels, mental health, and loneliness to be worse than before the pandemic. Additionally, the wide-availability of information about the pandemic on the internet and social media was perceived as source of pandemic-related worries among members of the public. Conclusions: The continued provision of mental health service and educational campaigns about effective stress and mental health management is warranted.