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DkIT lecturers lead national study exploring psychological health impact of COVID-19

22 February 2021

‘General public encouraged to participate in global study investigating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on wellbeing’. 

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) is leading Ireland’s involvement in an international study investigating how COVID-19 is impacting on people’s wellbeing. This is the first Irish study on the psychological impact of pandemic involving both the general public and all frontline workers. 

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Lecturers Dr. Kevin McKenna and Áine McHugh from the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years in DkIT are leading the Irish input into the study, ‘The COVID-19 Wellbeing Study Perceived coercion and psychological wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic’ which is an online survey that is accessible to the general public and frontline workers until the 21st March. 

“We are encouraging people to take part in this study because we are living in unprecedented times; we have to go back over 100 years to the Spanish Flu in 1918 to see a public health emergency on the same scale as COVID-19,” according to Áine McHugh. 

So often studies looking at wellbeing, are undertaken long after the fact and when people have possibly forgotten what it was like to live through that experience. So we're trying to capture people's perception of this event as they are all in the middle of it.” With this pandemic she said, “we have a unique opportunity to actually find out how people are feeling about their wellbeing.” 

Dr. Kevin McKenna and his colleague Áine McHugh are leading the Irish contribution to this 22 country study, that is being led by University College London. He said,

we are delighted to be leading Ireland’s contribution to this important  international study which includes both the general public and frontline workers.”  

This study seeks the views of the general public and frontline workers on public health restrictions, in addition to exploring respondents’ wellbeing. The second phase of the study, will also be led by DkIT, and will invite a number of people to join a group discussion about their experiences. 

“The study has a number of potentially important outputs including identifying the concerns, struggles, strengths, coping and resilience of both the general public and frontline workers, and how these compare internationally. In addition, findings might enlighten future public health messaging, and provide some valuable insights as we plan our post-COVID society” Dr McKenna explained .  

Dr. Kevin McKenna along with Áine McHugh have expertise in the field of mental health nursing and have a particular interest in advancing the provision of mental health care in Ireland.  

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