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GSS Faculty Research COVID-19’s Impact on International Mental Health


Graduate School of Social Service Professor Dana Alonzo, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Marciana Popescu, Ph.D., have published four recent research articles on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

Below are the articles and information from their abstracts. Each article title is hyperlinked to the full piece for further reading.

Mental Health Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Parents in High-Risk, Low Income Communities
Published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry

COVID-19 has spread across the globe, resulting in significant changes in virtually every aspect of life. Mitigation efforts, like shelter-in-place orders, have taken a particular toll on parents who have had to navigate disruptions in work and/or school schedules. Research from high-income countries demonstrates increased parental anxiety, stress, depression, and burnout resulting from the pandemic. It is unclear if these outcomes are the same for parents in high-risk communities in low-income countries where pre-pandemic conditions were deleterious. This study addresses this gap and examines the mental health impact of the pandemic on parents in high-risk communities in Guatemala.


Utilizing Social Media Platforms to Promote Mental Health Awareness and Help-Seeking in Underserved Communities during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Published in J Education and Health Promotion

COVID-19 virus has resulted in significant psychological distress for many individuals, particularly, those in underserved communities. Social media have the potential to be one of the most effective tools for mental health campaigns, reaching wide audiences in the shortest amount of time. In this paper, the potential of harnessing social media platforms to address mental health needs in underserved populations is presented. In addition, description of the preliminary implementation of a social media mental health campaign, the 5 × 5 campaign, is described as an example of the feasibility and benefits of such efforts. Key implications gleaned from the implementation process are also presented.


Qualitative Examination of the Mental Health Impact of Quarantine During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Published in the International Journal of Mental Health

The mental health impact of Covid-19 from the perspective of individuals experiencing psychological distress during lockdown period in marginalized, high-risk communities remains underinvestigated.

This study aims to identify key factors related to psychological distress resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic across highly vulnerable districts in Guatemala.


The Current pandemic, a complex emergency? Mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and extended quarantine periods on highly vulnerable communities in Guatemala
Published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry

On March 5th, Guatemala declared a ‘State of Calamity’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and strict lockdown measures were initiated. The psychological consequences of these measures are yet to be fully understood. There is limited research on the psychological impact of the virus in the general population, and even less focused on Latin America and high-risk communities characterized by poverty, limited mental health resources, and high rates of stigma around mental illness. The goal of this study is to examine the psychological impact of COVID-19 across several highly vulnerable districts in Guatemala.


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