COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative: Research

Harnessing Digital Mental Health to Improve Equity in Mental Health Care in the Context of COVID-19: Needs, Best-practices and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific Region

Key Messages

  • Several groups across the Asia Pacific region are at higher risk of the negative mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may experience more barriers to accessing digital and virtual care
  • Challenges include interruptions in standard mental health care, lack of access to culturally or linguistically appropriate care, barriers to accessing digital technology or the Internet, and persistent health and socioeconomic inequalities.
  • Recommendations include involving at-risk groups in consultations about planning for mental health care, improving accessible options (e.g. multiple languages, format and platforms) for digital and virtual care, investing in research on the effectiveness of digital and virtual care for at-risk groups, and addressing the underlying socioeconomic contributors to poor mental health


  • Mental health
  • Digital health
  • Virtual mental health care
  • At-risk groups
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Equity
  • Psychosocial risk factors
  • COVID-19
  • Rapid review


  • Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Raymond Lam, Professor and BC Leadership Chair in Depression Research; Associate Head for Graduate and Undergraduate Education, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia; Director, Mood Disorders Centre, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health; Executive Director, APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health.
  • Dr. Jill Murphy, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Raymond Lam, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Erin Michalak, University of British Columbia
  • Amna Khan, University of British Columbia

For more information, please contact: Dr. Jill Murphy,

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