As medical scientists work to understand how the new coronavirus makes us sick, how we can prevent or treat the infection, psychologists are tracking our mental health during a pandemic. At the University of Virginia, one group is looking for volunteers to evaluate online treatments for anxiety.
This time in history is bound to make many people feel anxious. They’re stuck at home, unable to connect in person with family and friends, worried by the prospect of catching a deadly disease and subject to decisions by political leaders they may not trust. Dr. Bethany Teachman is a professor of psychology and an expert on anxiety.
“The threat is a novel one that we don’t perfectly understand," she notes. "It had elements that are unpredictable and uncontrollable, and those are the very features that we know tend to fuel anxiety.”
So she and more than a dozen other psycholgists, engineers and computer scientists at the University of Virginia have created a website called Mindtrails.
"We’re studying online programs that are trying to shift anxious thinking, so if you go to mindtrails.Virginia.edu, we have free online programs that we’re testing and studying right now,” Teachman explains.
The site, funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health, allows visitors to practice thinking in new ways. Visits take 10-20 minutes, are free and confidential.
***Editor's Note: The University of Virginia is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.