National lockdowns have been the most profound, deep reaching, and significant public health interventions within living memory. Glasgow city region has led the way in research to understand the impact of this intervention on people, and how this can be mitigated. This knowledge will be essential to economic and social recovery for countries around the world.

Effects of the pandemic on mental health

The University of Glasgow is leading ongoing research into the effects of the pandemic on mental health. So far the study has found young people, women, individuals from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds and those with pre-existing mental health problems reported the worst mental health outcomes in the initial phase of the national lockdown. The study, which is the first publication from a large-scale longitudinal research programme, in collaboration with, and funded by, Samaritans, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), and the Mindstep Foundation, is the most detailed examination to date of the mental health and wellbeing of the UK adult population during the first six weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sleep, exercise and an unhealthy diet during the pandemic

A rise in negative health behaviours – such as lack of sleep, exercise and an unhealthy diet – is connected to poorer mental health during the tightest restrictions of Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown, a new study has confirmed. Research led by University of the West of Scotland (UWS), in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has concluded that these changes contributed to a higher negative mood and that maintaining, or even improving, health behaviours in a lockdown situation is key to sustaining positive mental health.

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Memory, attention and decision-making during the pandemic

Meanwhile, a decline in cognitive functions – such as memory, attention and decision-making – is connected to the tightest restrictions in Scotland’s COVID-19 lockdown, a new peer-reviewed study has found. The research, led by Dr Joanne Ingram from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) psychology lecturer Dr Chris Hand, has concluded that restrictions on social interactions led to poorer memory, attention and decision-making, but that these abilities improved as social restrictions were eased. These findings have implications for how we plan to work, learn, and live.

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UK-wide Mental Health in the Pandemic study

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health has also been studied by researchers at the University of Strathclyde who found that one in seven Scottish adults are experiencing feelings of hopelessness. The research, led by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland, also found the same feeling in one quarter of unemployed people of young adults aged 18-24 and of people with pre-existing health conditions. The data has been published as part of a major longitudinal study into mental health called Coronavirus: Mental Health and the Pandemic. It forms part of the UK-wide Mental Health in the Pandemic study, which started in mid-March and is led by the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with the Universities of Cambridge, Swansea, Strathclyde and Belfast.

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Tackling long-term health effects

Tackling the long-term health effects of coronavirus will be the focus of a new University of the West of Scotland (UWS) research project. The project, which is funded by the Chief Scientist Office, will involve tracking and identifying trends in persistent symptoms following a coronavirus infection, in order to identify the scale of the issue in Scotland.

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Tackling long-term health effects

A robot which encourages children to wash their hands is helping Glasgow primary school pupils do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WallBo, a ‘social robot’ with a friendly smile and a Scottish accent, developed by researchers at the University of Glasgow, has helped boost hand hygiene awareness in two local primary schools.

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£1 million study into diet treatment for Long-Covid

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have been awarded £1 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to investigate weight loss treatment for long COVID.

The multi-disciplinary research team, led by Dr Emilie Combet and Dr David Blane, will lead the Remote Diet Intervention to REduce long Covid symptoms Trial (ReDIRECT) to test whether a well-established weight management programme, delivered and supported entirely remotely, can improve symptoms for people with long COVID and overweight/obesity.

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