Overview of IMPASS

We are a global group of researchers, policy makers and clinicians. We’re working together to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its response, on people with mental health problems, and on mental health service provision in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected lives and access to healthcare in low and middle income countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. People with severe mental illness (SMI, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) are at particularly high risk of being affected, as are mental health services.

In IMPASS, we want to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, on people with SMI and related health services.

The IMPASS Project

In order to address these issues, IMPASS will explore:

  • If and how SMI patients have received, understood and responded to advice on preventing the spread of COVID-19
  • The pandemic’s impact on
    • Wellbeing, loneliness, mental and physical health, health-risk behaviours (e.g. smoking) and quality of life;
    • Access to and receipt of mental and physical healthcare;
    • Housing and food security, domestic violence, income and employment
  • Impacts of the pandemic on mental health service provision, from the healthcare provider perspective
  • Vaccine knowledge, attitudes and access/uptake from the perspective of people with SMI
  • Availability for the prioritisation of those with SMI, from policy maker and service provider perspectives

IMPASS will inform strategies to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on people with mental health problems and healthcare services, including vaccination strategy relevant to this population.

In order to deliver this research, IMPASS will:

  • Carry out interviews and surveys with people who have SMI and their families, in order to:
    • explore understanding and response to public health advice in those with SMI
    • understand the pandemic’s impact on health behaviours (e.g. smoking)
  • Carry out interviews and surveys with healthcare staff at mental health hospitals, to explore impacts of the pandemic on mental health services.
  • Carry out workshops with key stakeholders (e.g. patients, health care staff, policy makers, community panels) to jointly produce research questions and interpret our findings.

Our findings will inform approaches to reduce the impact of the current and future pandemics, and be of value to people with SMI, health providers and policy makers in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other LMICs.