The impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on those supported in the community with long‑term mental health problems: a qualitative analysis of power, threat, meaning and survival

Dawn Leeming, Mike Lucock, Kagari Shibazaki, Nicki Pilkington, Becky Scott

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Research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on those already living with mental health problems, though there is also evidence of resilience. However, to date there has been limited in-depth qualitative investigation. We interviewed 15 people living with long-term mental health problems who, before the pandemic, were being supported by third sector organisations, to explore how they experienced lockdowns and accessing services remotely. Template analysis was informed by the Power Threat Meaning Framework and suggested that participants experienced significant threats to their mental wellbeing and recovery which were exacerbated by current or previous powerlessness and inequality. Although participants described positive coping strategies, several described a return of unhelpful behaviours that had contributed to the original difficulties. The findings illustrate the wider contributions of social and economic context to mental health problems and the importance of ensuring that people do not feel abandoned and are proactively supported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297–1309
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Early online date15 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Service Users
  • Power Threat Meaning Framework
  • Qualitative

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