Efficiency and Quality of Data Collection Among Public Mental Health Surveys Conducted During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review.

Affiliation

Lin YH(#)(1)(2)(3)(4), Chen CY(#)(5)(6), Wu SI(1).
Author information:
(1)Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli County, Taiwan.
(2)Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
(3)Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
(4)Institute of Health Behaviors and Community Sciences, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
(5)Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
(6)Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
(#)Contributed equally

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization has recognized the importance of assessing population-level mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a timely surveillance method is urgently needed to track the impact on public mental health. OBJECTIVE: This brief systematic review focused on the efficiency and quality of data collection of studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We searched the PubMed database using the following search strings: ((COVID-19) OR (SARS-CoV-2)) AND ((Mental health) OR (psychological) OR (psychiatry)). We screened the titles, abstracts, and texts of the published papers to exclude irrelevant studies. We used the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale to evaluate the quality of each research paper. RESULTS: Our search yielded 37 relevant mental health surveys of the general public that were conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, as of July 10, 2020. All these public mental health surveys were cross-sectional in design, and the journals efficiently made these articles available online in an average of 18.7 (range 1-64) days from the date they were received. The average duration of recruitment periods was 9.2 (range 2-35) days, and the average sample size was 5137 (range 100-56,679). However, 73% (27/37) of the selected studies had Newcastle-Ottawa Scale scores of <3 points, which suggests that these studies are of very low quality for inclusion in a meta-analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The studies examined in this systematic review used an efficient data collection method, but there was a high risk of bias, in general, among the existing public mental health surveys. Therefore, following recommendations to avoid selection bias, or employing novel methodologies considering both a longitudinal design and high temporal resolution, would help provide a strong basis for the formation of national mental health policies.