About the project

How has the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 affected the mental health of the population?

There are many assumptions and little evidence. Our intention is to methodically and systematically examine the state of mental health and the frequency of psychiatric disorders in the population of Serbia. This will be an opportunity for us to understand the existing needs of the population and to help guide the provision of appropriate care and assistance for various mental disorders in a timely manner.
Mental health during pandemic crises is affected by many factors, such as biological factors (proximity to the source of infection, current health status), psychological factors (individual psychological predisposition, emotional trauma, current mental state), as well as societal factors (e.g. developmental parameters and organization of health care at the level of municipalities in which people live, demographics of the environment, infrastructural aspects, safety, etc.).
In our project, we will examine in detail the mental status of a sample of over 1000 people, who will be selected to represent the entire population. The design of the study implies a random selection of respondents, which means that respondents will be contacted in their homes, where experts will talk and get acquainted with possible disturbances and difficulties. The central interest of our study is to notice whether there is a certain psychiatric disorder (or more of them), how strong the symptoms of a given disorder are, and quality of life of our respondents. We will also take into account various parameters of development and functioning of the municipalities in which they live.

Research in Serbia

To the best of our knowledge, systematic analyzes of the frequency of psychiatric disorders at the national level have not been performed in Serbia so far. Only once has something similar been done at the international level, when the frequency of mental disorders in the post-war Balkans was examined in 2005-2006. With the project leader, Prof. Stefan Priebe from London, we plan to pool the data and thoroughly investigate the situation then, after the wars and now. Trauma is a challenge to adapt – although it is confusing, painful, it can be a chance: individual post-traumatic progress is possible, as is post-traumatic decline. We mostly learn about everything, including the frequency of mental disorders, trauma, and other from the literature of Western authors. This is an opportunity for both us and the world to learn something based on data from Serbia and to make comparisons with other parts of the world based on evidence, instead of speculations that are not always harmless.

This research is supported by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia, Grant No. #7528289, COVID-19-CoV2Soul.RS

The research is registered at the Clinicaltrials.gov, registration number NCT 04896983.