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Clinical trial applies COVID-19 challenges to well-being study

Last Updated Sep 20, 2020 at 1:14 pm PDT

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — While managing mental health during the pandemic has been a struggle for many, a UBC psychology professor will be launching a clinical trial looking at people’s well-being during the tumultuous time.

The study includes over 2,000 participants and is a revised version of the ENHANCE well-being program, but tailored specifically to address the current challenges of COVID-19.

Dr. Lesley Lutes, a psychology professor at UBC Okanagan, is starting the 12-week clinical trial on Monday, which includes examining how one’s outlook affects their mental and physical health.

“We’ve often considered mental health or emotional well being as a separate thing from our physical health,” she says.

“But the research is incredibly clear that they’re bi-directorially connected as in our physical health impacts our mental health or wellbeing, and our wellbeing or physical health impacts our physical health.”

She says the study aims to look closely at some of the emotional stressors seen in daily life, and how to spot them early.

“And understandably given what is going on currently with the physical risks of COVID, loss of jobs, loss of employment, loss of social connection, loss of social opportunities to be with each other, potential down the road.”

Lutes says she hopes to release the program to all residents of B.C. and Canada in January.

The trial is also in partnership with the Thrive app, Canada’s official COVID-19 app, which includes symptom tracking and self-assessment.