Study finds COVID-19 isn’t hurting mental health of patients

VIDEO: Better understanding covid's mental impact

TULSA, Okla. — Researchers say COVID-19 isn’t hurting the mental health of most patients, according to a study.

Laureate Institute for Brain Research is studying the effects of the virus on mental health.

“We hypothesized during this time of crisis, maybe mental health symptoms would increase, but surprisingly we don’t find that,” said Dr. Martin Paulus, Scientific Director and President of Laureate Institute for Brain Research.

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Paulus says the pandemic created an important research opportunity.

The data they’ve collected since April from 390 adults in the Tulsa area diagnosed with mental health issues -- and 130 healthy adults -- shows either a steady or downward trend in depression and anxiety for each group.

Researchers say are working to understand that trend and believe a healthy immune response to an infection like COVID-19 in patients with depression could actually improve mental health symptoms.

They say they’re concerned with learning more about how the virus actually affects the brain. They say that will be critically important to better understand how a vaccine could impact people with depression or anxiety who may need a different dosage or a booster shot.