We want to understand the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on the health and wellbeing of people with severe mental ill health.

A brief history

The OWLS project began in April 2020 when we, a group of researchers who are investigating how to improve the physical health of people with severe mental ill health, wanted to explore how the pandemic restrictions were affecting people with severe mental ill health. We worked together with a group of people with lived experience to create a series of questions that would best capture the health and well being, the experiences and the concerns of people with severe mental ill health during the pandemic. Once the questions and methods had been decided we applied for ethical approval and the OWLS study was born.

Where we are today

We have completed both our initial survey, OWLS 1 (*367 participants diagnosed with severe mental ill health, from a range of demographics across England ) and the follow-up survey, OWLS 2 (264 participants out of the initial 367). So far, several research papers which have emerged from OWLS 1 & 2 have been published (see 'Publications' section).

Currently, we we are almost ready to close the recruitment for our OWLS-COHORT study- those invited to participate come from those who took part in the OWLS study and consented to being contacted again about future research they may be interested in taking part in. The purpose of this new study is to follow adults in the UK who have a recorded diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar and associated conditions to collect information about health and to reduce health inequalities.

*To learn more about the recruitment, see 'The Cohort' section.