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Theme Leaders: Sara Freedman and Tatiana Davidson

Please contact the theme leaders if you would like to initiate new projects or have other ideas about global collaboration related to this topic. You can also directly submit your project proposal here.​

Global COVID-19-related traumatic stress activities

The COVID-19 outbreak is a global problem, an unprecedented pandemic, a public health emergency of international concern that threatens lives and well-being of the world population. It is also affecting health care professionals on the front lines, as well as mental health professionals providing psychosocial support. 

As the COVID-19 outbreak is a global problem, it also requires a global solution. Therefore, global collaborating is vital, i.e. working together on COVID-19-related traumatic stress aspects (policies, best practices and research).

We will need to address how people may respond differently to the crisis around the world, how to best communicate about the outbreak and its consequences - taking culture, gender and age aspects into account - how to provide peer support to health workers or other affected professionals, and what are (online) interventions that are needed at a later stage.


The traumatic stress societies that are united in the Global Collaboration on Traumatic Stress (GCTS) have collected relevant information (listed below) on the COVID-19 virus and measures we can take, the consequences and how to respond to those who suffer from the consequences and how we support our health professionals. 

COVID-19 information on STSS websites:

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1. C19 MentalHealthNet

The COVID-19 Mental Health Research Network 

Project leaders: Soraya Seedat & Nancy Kassam-Adams

Project completed, find details here.

2. Traumatic Stress and Adversity Faced by COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers and Mental Healthcare Providers

Project leader:  Julian Ford

Study A

Temporal trends in health worker social media communication during the COVID-19 pandemic – Text Mining Approach 

Project completed, find details here.

Study B

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and human services providers – An international Global Collaboration on Psychotrauma survey 

Study group: Julian Ford, Rocio Chang, Ramez Dagher, Daniel Eichert, Damion Grasso, Wissam El Hage, Patricia Kerig, Tomoko Kishimoto, Chris Kristensen, Davide Marengo, Joshua Mersky, Misari Oe, Andrea Phelps, Sami Richa, Carolina Salgado, Soraya Seedat, Patricia Correia Santos, Chaoran Sun, Ulrich Schnyder, James Topitzes


As we enter the fourth year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on healthcare workers and organizations is well recognized – but the toll on mental health and human services counselors in practice and in training has never been systematically evaluated.

Using a Qualtrics platform for secure data acquisition and privacy protection the survey of mental health providers from multiple disciplines is being done by an international team of traumatic stress from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and the United States,  beginning two years after the start of the pandemic (June 2022) with repeated waves every 6 months.

Survey items include: (1) sociodemographics, (2) a newly developed measure of personal and social impacts of the pandemic for mental health providers (EPII-Brief and-MH; Grasso et al., 2021), (3) depression and anxiety symptoms, (4) trauma history and PTSD symptoms (Global Psychotrauma Screen), (5) CPTSD DSO symptoms (International Trauma Questionnaire) (6) moral injury symptoms, (7) experiential avoidance symptoms, (8) secondary traumatic stress reactions, (9) burnout symptoms, (10) resiliency factors, and (11) social support (~200 items, 20-30 minute estimated completion time). Translation into multiple languages is done by co-investigators.

Descriptive statistics, correlations, linear regression, and tests of group differences will be conducted with SPSS and Mathworks Inc. Matlab. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (EFA/CFA) and latent class and growth analyses will be conducted using MPlus software.

Moderators (e.g., nationality; training; sociodemographics, practice setting) and mediators (e.g., trauma/loss exposure, prior wave symptoms/support) will be tested, with a target sample size of up to N=3,000.

Mental health providers: 

please access the survey here! 

The survey is designed for mental and behavioral health counseling, social work legal/forensic, and marriage and family therapy professionals and paraprofessionals (including pre-professional trainees).  

The survey is anonymous to ensure privacy, with brief, well validated and meaningful measures. Please circulate this invitation and link to other colleagues who might be interested in participating. 

So far, more than 1000 mental health and social work professionals internationally have completed the survey, and a second cohort is beginning in Africa, Australia, and Singapore.

For more information on these projects, please contact Julian Ford 

Study Related Publications

  • Grasso, D. J., Briggs‐Gowan, M. J., Carter, A. S., Goldstein, B. L., & Ford, J. D. (2021). Profiling COVID‐related experiences in the United States with the Epidemic‐Pandemic Impacts Inventory: Linkages to psychosocial functioning. Brain and Behavior, e02197.

3. Stressors, coping and symptoms of adjustment disorder in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Project leaders: Annett Lotzin & Ingo Schäfer on behalf of ESTSS

Project group members: Helene Flood Aakvaag, Elena Acquarini, Dean Ajdukovic, Vittoria Ardino, Maria Böttche, Kristina Bondjers, Maria Bragesjö, Małgorzata Dragan, Piotr Grajewski, Margarida Figueiredo-Braga, Odeta Gelezelyte, Jana Darejan Javakhishvili, Evaldas Kazlauskas, Matthias Knefel, Brigitte Lueger-Schuster, Nino Makhashvili, Trudy Mooren, Luisa Sales, and Aleksandra Stevanovic. Please contact Annett Lotzin if you are interested in joining the study.


Aims and method

The primary aim of this longitudinal cohort study launched by the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS) was to examine the relationships between risk and resilience factors, stressors and adjustment disorder symptoms during the pandemic, and to investigate whether these relationships were moderated by coping behaviors. All data were assessed by an online-questionnaire longitudinally, with an interval of six months. Following a conceptual framework based on the WHO’s social framework of health, an assessment of individual and country-level risk and resilience factors, COVID-19 related stressors and pandemic-specific coping behavior were measured to estimate their contribution to symptoms of adverse adjustment. Primary measure: adjustment disorder symptoms (ADNM-8). Secondary measure: Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PC-PTSD-5).



From June to November 2020, 15,563 adults from eleven countries (Austria, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden) participated in this study. Several risk and protective factors as well as pandemic-related stressors were identified.


Study publications can be accessed here.

4. High-risk occupational groups responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

Project leaders: Talya Greene, Jo Billings, Michael Bloomfield

Project members: tbd


Aims and method

It is essential that the psychological response to the COVID-19 outbreak is coordinated, trauma-informed and evidence-based. This project aims to collate and develop globally transferable guidance for the psychosocial support of high-risk occupational groups responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. These groups include healthcare workers (e.g., doctors, nurses, technicians, porters, paramedics, hospital administrators), other essential workers (e.g., social workers, care home staff, cleaners, delivery workers), and their family members. Guidance should be evidence-based and is focused on which interventions are likely to be helpful, and which may be harmful, in coping with peritraumatic stress exposure, and mitigating long-term trauma reactions.

  • Billings, J., Greene, T., Kember, T., Grey, N., El-Leithy, S., Lee, D., ... & Bloomfield, M. A. (2020). Supporting hospital staff during COVID-19: Early interventions. Occupational Medicine. DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqaa098

  • Greene, T., Bloomfield, M. A., & Billings, J. (2020). Psychological trauma and moral injury in religious leaders during COVID-19. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(1), 143-145. DOI: 10.1037/tra0000641


5. Posttraumatic adjustment in nurses

Project leader: Prof Dr Judith Daniels (

Project completed, find details here.


6. REACH for Mental Health

Project leaders:  Christy Denckla & Karestan Koenen

Project completed, find details here.

7. Psychological Effects of the Corona Virus COVID19

Project Leaders:  Sara Freedman, Talya Greene, Cherie Armour

Project completed, find details here.

8. Global Psychotrauma Screen – Cross-Cultural responses to COVID-19 versus other traumatic events (GPS-CCC)

Project leader: Miranda Olff

Project completed, find details here.

9.  COVID-19 Unmasked: Understanding the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on young children (1-5 years) and their families

Project leaders: Alex De Young, Lisa Krijnen and Marthe Egberts

Project Group: Mira Vasileva (Australia), Eva Alisic (Australia), Meghan Marsac (USA), Hope Christie (Scotland).

The international collaboration to conduct the COVID-19 Unmasked Young Child survey:

  • Australia: Alex De Young, Mira Vasileva, Eva Alisic, Sonja March, Elisabeth Hoehn, Vanessa Cobham, Caroline Donavon, Christel Middeldorp

  • USA: Meghan Marsac, Rachel Wamser, Alisa Miller

  • UK: Hope Christie, Karen Goodall, Asa Kerr-Davis

  • Poland: Joanna Boruszak

  • Netherlands: Marthe Egberts, Trudy Mooren, Willemijn van Eldik

  • Turkey: Dilara Demirpence and Seda Sertdurak

  • Spain: Gemma Ruiz and Sandra Simo

  • Greece and Cyprus: Xenia Hadjicharalambous

Participating countries 

Nine countries and >40 investigators are currently participating in this collaboration. Countries include Australia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. Over 6000 families have participated in this research.


Aims and method

The COVID-19 Unmasked: Young Child research project was launched in Australia on 12 May 2020 to help understand and track the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of young children (1-5 years) and their caregivers. This information will be used to promote positive wellbeing and resilience and help prevent the development and exacerbation of mental health problems in this age group over the next 12 months. The online survey is completed on 4 occasions (baseline and 3, 6, 12-months) to:

  1. Identify the challenging and positive experiences children and families have faced during this time

  2. Understand how toddlers and young children are coping, and what impacts the pandemic is having on their emotional and behavioural wellbeing

  3. Learn about the types of worries preschool children have typically experienced during this
    time and how these worries have affected their emotions, sleep and behaviour

  4. Track how many children are exposed to potentially traumatic events over the next 12-months and the impact this has on their mental health

  5. Understand the pressures on parents and caregivers of young children, and how the
    pandemic is affecting their mental health and parenting practices

  6. Identify key risk and protective factors that have influenced child and parent adjustment during this time


This information will help educators, health professionals, policymakers and service providers develop better ways of supporting young families during the course of this pandemic as well as future disruptive events (e.g. natural disasters).

Additional data collection: Originally, this was going to be a survey completed over 4-time points during a 12-month period. Given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the Australian team are planning to complete another survey around the 18-month and 24-month time-points to continue to explore the mental health impacts over time.


The teams are in the process of manuscript submissions/revisions, and working on combining datasets (from the participating countries) later this year.


If you are interested in learning more about these projects, please contact Alex deYoung (

Reports  & media output and publications: here

10. The COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) Study

Project leader: Richard Bentall

Project Group: Kate Bennett, Sarah Butter, Jilly Gibson Miller, Todd K. Hartman, Liat Levita, Anton Martinez, Liam Mason, Orla McBride, Ryan McKay, Jamie Murphy, Mark Shevlin, Thomas VA Stocks, Philip Hyland, Frédérique Vallières, Thanos Karatzias, Carmen Valiente, Carmelo Vazquez, Justin Thomas, Abdullah Bin Dawood & Marco Bertamini

Aims and Method

The COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) Study aims to assess and monitor the psychological, social, political, and economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the general population, using longitudinal surveys and mixed-methods studies in multiple countries (UK, Republic of Ireland, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Italy). In the UK (which serves as the ‘parent’ arm of the study), a longitudinal, internet panel survey assessed: (1) COVID-19 related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours; (2) the occurrence of common mental health disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, COVID-19 related traumatic stress); as well as the role of (3) psychological factors (e.g. personality, locus of control, resilience) and (4) social and political attitudes (e.g. authoritarianism, social dominance), in influencing the public’s response to the pandemic. Quota sampling was used to recruit a nationally representative (in terms of age, sex, and household income) sample of adults at Wave 1 in March 2020 (N=2025). As of May 2021, four follow-up surveys have been conducted: Wave 2, April/May 2020; Wave 3, July/August 2020; Wave 4, Nov/Dec 2020; Wave 5, March/April 2021. Additionally, sub-studies (qualitative interviews, experience sampling study) have been conducted to examine the impact of the pandemic on specific subpopulations (i.e. older adults, pregnant women, those with health vulnerabilities), and experiment/quasi-experimental data has been collected via a range of cognitive tests to enhance the utility of the dataset to assess adherence to public health regulations.


The C19PRC Study data has strong generalisability to facilitate and stimulate interdisciplinary research on important public health questions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details of all of research outputs are available on this website.

FAIR data of this project can be found here. 

For further information, please contact Richard Bentall

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Prof. Dr. Karestan Koenen, project leader of project 6. REACH for Mental Health was interviewed by Miranda Olff about her work. Karestan is a former ISTSS president, an international expert in the field of PTSD and advocate for victims of sexual violence. She is breaking taboos by also sharing personal experiences.

Watch it here.

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