The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed mental health services and systems, causing delays in service for people in need and disrupting treatment access. At the same time, a growing number of people, including health care workers and other essential workers, are developing what could become long-term mental health conditions due to the pandemic. The Digital Mental Health Care for COVID-19 High-Risk Populations project will work to address these challenges by creating, testing and delivering new digital mental health care tools and supporting sustained access for those who would most benefit from these resources.
In partnership with the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS OMH), the project will develop digital mental health care interventions. These will include brief online videos to reduce stigma and empower individuals to seek treatment for mental health issues, and interactive behavioral change modules (digital tools that aim to reduce psychiatric symptoms by encouraging limited exposure to social media, more social support, better sleep habits and physical exercise). Resources will be made available via NYS OMH’s online platform and disseminated as part of a statewide effort to make digital mental health interventions for high-risk groups more accessible.
The project will bring together Columbia faculty with expertise across the areas of trauma, mental health and cultural competence – as well as significant experience working in Black and Latinx communities – and experts in videography and online behavioral change interventions. NYS OMH will integrate the interventions found to be effective into an online platform that it created as part of its COVID-19 response and will offer the interventions to residents of New York.
By creating digital resources that are evidence-based, customized for high-risk populations and made widely accessible, the project could provide a leading example of how to adapt mental health services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and potentially provide lessons for other large-scale disasters.
In Partnership With:
Doron AmsalemColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Doron Amsalem, MD, is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and a Research Scientist at Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Amsalem developed programs for medical students and...
Lisa B. DixonColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH is the Edna L Edison Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Sidney H. HankersonColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteFormer Project LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Sidney Hankerson, MD, MBA is Co-Director of the Columbia University Wellness Center, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Research Scientist...
Roberto Lewis-FernándezColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Roberto Lewis-Fernández is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence and the Hispanic Treatment...
Yuval Neria, PhDColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Yuval Neria, PhD, is Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, and Director of Trauma and PTSD at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI).
Thomas E. SmithColumbia University, New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Psychiatric InstituteProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Thomas Smith oversees clinical and quality aspects of the New York State public mental health system with a focus on improving access to prevention, recovery and rehabilitation services...
Melanie WallColumbia University, New York State Psychiatric InstituteProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Dr. Wall is a biostatistician and director of Mental Health Data Science at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She has worked extensively designing...