Newswise — The Tulane School of Social Work has launched two online surveys to study behavioral health and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and is asking the public to participate.

“Research on the COVID-19 pandemic focused on psychosocial health is imperative to understand the impact on the well-being of our community,” said Patrick Bordnick, dean of Tulane School of Social Work. “These two surveys will support future research, allowing us to implement effective strategies and create change that benefits everyone.” 

The COVID-19 Behavioral Health Survey is a needs assessment to better understand behavioral health challenges people are facing during the pandemic. The anonymous survey asks questions concerning well-being and substance use, with results being used to improve community services following COVID-19.  It will be led Tonya Hansel, PhD, LMSW, program director of the Doctorate of Social Work.

“We performed similar studies after Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf (of Mexico) oil spill disaster to report needs back to state and municipal representatives,” Hansel said. “The Deepwater Horizon study contributed to an over $105 million community health program with agencies in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.”

By assessing how people are experiencing anxiety, depression, and isolation, as well as loss of income and food insecurity, the study will provide information that researchers, policy makers, non-profit organizations and government agencies can use to support and improve people’s well-being.

“Our number one goal is to understand the public’s behavioral health needs and negotiate services and funding to help individuals and communities,” Hansel said. “We have no idea how people will fare with this pandemic, but we do know that everyone, everywhere, needs mental health support.”

The Predictors of COVID-19 Resilience Study, which is also anonymous, will investigate the factors that result in disaster preparedness and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions address previous disaster experience, resilience, perceived stress, intimate partner stress and demographics. The information will assist with essential disaster research on preparedness planning for future events. It will be led by Reggie Ferreira, program director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy.

“This study allows us to gain a better understanding of what people experience during unique events such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ferreira said. “Being able to collect data during a disaster is very rare but should be done with ethical disaster research practice in mind.”

Ferreira has written extensively on the topic of disaster research and helped develop an ethical model for the subject area.

“Collecting data during a disaster can be complicated,” said Ferreira. “With the advancement of technology and online surveys such as this one, we are able to collect perishable data much faster. The ability to collect data now can ensure that future decisions made by leaders are informed and science driven, being backed by data.”

To participate in the surveys, individuals must be over the age of 18. It is open to people worldwide. Each survey takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and responses will be kept confidential. The studies will continue throughout the next six weeks. For more information and to take the surveys, visit TSSW’s website.