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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 215-220

Challenges in Conducting Mental Health Research during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic and Approaches to Handle Them

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Rakesh Kumar Chadda
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_68_21

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease led to the disruption of many nonessential activities in health care across the globe including various non-COVID-19-related research activities. Various issues need to be addressed while conducting research during the pandemic. It is important to ensure the social and scientific value of research while ensuring to maintain ethical standards of the research. Taking the informed consent is of utmost priority irrespective of the platform of research. Any deviations from the protocol must be informed to the ethics committee. The confidentiality and privacy concerns should also be maintained higher up in the priority. Other concerns include regular audits with the management of the data, managing the workforce while ensuring their safety, handling administrative issues, and addressing researchers' burnout. During the pandemic, the research could either be conducted online or offline with both researchers and participants following covid-related protocol such as wearing mask, maintaining safe social distance, and maintaining hand hygiene. During the pandemic, authors were working on three funded research projects. The pandemic period can be divided into two phases in India: March 2020 to February 2021 and April 2021 to August 2021. During the first phase, our research activities proceeded in three stages. First stage (March 2020–May 2020) was characterized by uncertainty and complete stoppage of work. In second stage (Jun 2020–Sep 2020), work was done in online mode with recalibration of goals. In third stage (October 2020–March 2021), physical working had started with certain restrictions. During the second phase, all stages were shorter.

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