Tracks of the Virtual Conference ESTSS 2021
The Virtual ESTSS Conference features a variety of tracks related to the overarching topic “Trauma and Mental Health during the Global Pandemic”. We invite you to submit presentations related to the following tracks.
The tracks will include:
- Trauma and stress
- Grief and loss
- Biological and medical aspects
- Children and adolescents
- Health care professionals
- Other specific populations (e.g., chronic disabilities, refugees)
- Best practice and lessons learned from clinical care
- Mental health assessment
- Human rights
Trauma and stress
Stressors like isolation, loss of income, and fear during the pandemic might cause mental health conditions or exacerbate existing problems. In this track, we invite presentations on the link between psychological problems and COVID-19 pandemic-related stress. For example, what impact does the reduction of in-person social interaction have on emotions and mood? Furthermore, we are interested in all kinds of stressors that have emerged during the pandemic in relation to psychological problems.
Grief and loss
In this track, we would like to focus on the psychological consequences for individuals who have experienced bereavement during the pandemic. Many people have lost loved ones in a time where it was not possible to visit them, changing experiences and rituals of bereavement and grief. With funeral gatherings restricted, it was not always possible to mourn deaths in person with family or friends. How did the COVID-19 pandemic influence the deathbed, bereavement rituals, and grieving across Europe? What consequences has this had for psychological help or interventions for bereaved individuals with grief, posttraumatic stress, or depression symptoms?
Biological and medical aspects of the global pandemic
In this track, we are interested in the biological pathways of a COVID-19 infection and mental health. Are there any associations between the virus infection and brain damage or mental illnesses, such as delirium, depression or otherwise? What are effects of medication for the virus on mental health? We also know that patients may experience long term effects of a virus infection, however less is known about the mental health part of these longterm effects. Is it possible to identify risk factors or groups of patients that are more vulnerable for mental health issues than others?
Children and adolescents
Increasing evidence is emerging that children and adolescents face particular mental health challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several factors, including closure of schools, reduced social contact with friends, strained family relationships, and reduced access to mental health services may all have exacerbated the stressful impact of the pandemic on young people’s development. Moreover, young people may have experienced traumatic bereavement, domestic violence, or a family breakdown during the pandemic. Speakers may wish to address risk factors, mechanisms, impacts, or interventions related to the pandemic and Child and Adolescent mental health in relation to psychotraumatology.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, healthcare professionals have been in the public eye more than ever. For months, healthcare professionals’ resilience has been challenged due to burdensome circumstances. For example, physical exhaustion as a result of increased workload; high risk of becoming infected with the virus and colleagues falling ill; and reduced social support due to self-isolation may all have had a unique impact on healthcare workers. Moreover, healthcare professionals have an increased risk of secondary traumatic stress pertaining to suffering, death, and ethical dilemmas. Healthcare professionals are, therefore, especially vulnerable to mental health problems, including burnout, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Self-care for healthcare professionals can be complex and challenging, given that people in these roles may prioritise the needs of others over their own needs. Strategies and tools have been developed since the start of the pandemic to improve healthcare professionals’ coping strategies. We invite speakers to address ways in which the pandemic has caused physically and mentally demanding circumstances for healthcare professionals and how these circumstances have resulted in aversive mental health effects. Furthermore, we are interested in what strategies and tools have been developed for healthcare professionals to cope with pandemic-related stressors.
Other specific populations
This track will explore how specific populations have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For psychotic patients, for example, misunderstanding of social distancing or other protective guidelines has posed major challenges for both patients and their caregivers. In chronic (physical) disabilities, increased risk of debilitating symptoms and severe illness from COVID-19 may have caused increased fear, anxiety and depression. Refugees residing in camps have suffered a lack of hygiene amenities, and healthcare aid in general. Moreover, adhering to social distancing guidelines is challenging in populous camps. Speakers may wish to address ways in which the pandemic has impacted any of these specific populations.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a myriad of challenges that may lead to heightened feelings of isolation, stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as trauma and grief. Mental health professionals can play an important role in minimising the psychological consequences, and boosting resilience. Speakers are welcomed to discuss their research and clinical experience with specific intervention programs that may be implemented to achieve this – not only in order to diminish negative symptoms, but also to positively enhance resilience and well-being.
Mental health assessment
In this track, mental health assessment tools are discussed. How did the COVID-19 pandemic influence the way assessments work in daily practice? Do we need new assessments or has the COVID-19 pandemic created room for new ways to assess mental health, such as remote delivery, online apps and modules, wearables, machine learning or other data science techniques? Speakers may wish to address the impact of COVID-19 on mental health assessment, including limitations and innovations resulting from the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly impacting people’s lives and mental health – cases of anxiety, depression and even PTSD are on the rise. At the same time, the pandemic is making it more difficult for people to come together and meet face-to-face, which hinders traditional psychological interventions. e-Health is therefore becoming a powerful and popular tool that allows professionals in the mental health field to overcome these obstacles and disseminate psychological support to those in need. Speakers are welcomed to discuss their research and clinical experiences with e-Health interventions during the current pandemic, sharing their thoughts on feasibility and efficacy, as well as any difficulties they might have encountered and how those can be overcome.
Best practice and lessons learned from clinical care
COVID-19 crisis has led to rapid and exceptional transformations in clinical care. The pandemic introduced new challenges, which required fast adaptation and identification of new solutions and practices. There are lessons that we have learned and will continue to learn from this crisis. Within this track, speakers are welcomed to discuss key lessons learned from clinical care in the field of mental health and present some of the best practices that produced optimal results during the pandemic.
In response to the public health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic, countries worldwide imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. These health and safety restrictions sometimes may have impacted human rights. In this track speakers are invited to discuss will the scope and effects on human rights during the pandemic.