Woman washing hands at kitchen sink

Covid-19 Coordinating Group

A society-wide initiative with the purpose of facilitating collaboration in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Find information about each of the key workstreams.

The Covid-19 Coordinating Group is a society-wide initiative, chaired by David Murphy (past BPS President) and Professor Daryl O'Connor (Chair of the Research Board), whose purpose is to facilitate collaboration and joined-up working across the society in response to the pandemic.

The group also met (online) on a regular basis, with the meeting minutes available to view as follows. 


The group has established a number of workstreams designed to focus on changing needs and areas of priority where the group feel that BPS input can make the most valuable contribution (without duplicating existing work).

Adaptations Workstream

The adaptations workstream is looking at how the working practices of psychologists can be adapted to allow practice to continue during the lockdown.

This includes the use of digital technology for assessment and/ or intervention, considerations around redeployment, working remotely and supervision.

  • Dr Roman Raczka (Chair), Division of Clinical Psychology, Chair Elect and DCP England Chair
  • Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman, Division of Forensic Psychology, Chair Elect, and member of the BPS Practice Board
  • Dr Helena Bunn, Division of Educational and Child Psychology
  • Janet Fraser, Division of Occupational Psychology, Chair Elect
  • Ghiselle Green, Trainee Clinical Psychologist at University College London
  • Dr Helen Griffiths, Division of Clinical Psychology, Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families, Chair Elect and Paediatric Psychology Network Chair
  • Dr Carl Harris, Community Psychology Section
  • Dr Masrita Ishaq, Division of Counselling Psychology
  • Dr Linda Kaye, Cyberpsychology Section, Chair
  • Professor (Emeritus) Tony Lavender, Division of Clinical Psychology
  • Dr Cerys Miles, Division of Forensic Psychology
  • Professor Christina Richards, Division of Counselling Psychology, Chair
  • Dr Liz Simpson, Division of Health Psychology, Northern Ireland Branch
  • Dr Alex Stirzaker, Division of Clinical Psychology, NHS England South West
  • Benna Waites, Division of Clinical Psychology, Leadership and Management Faculty, DCP Wales, Psychologists in Social Care Committee, Safeguarding Advisory Group
  • Dr Sally Zlotowitz, Community Psychology Section

Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Workstream

Understanding our behaviours and anticipating public responses to changes in policies, public messaging and guidelines will be key to improving health outcomes.

This workstream is focused on identifying psychological evidence to promote best practice in the design of sustainable behaviour interventions and developing clear guidance to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

This includes both immediate behaviours aimed at stopping the spreading the virus such as hand washing and social distancing and wider behaviours such as physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking, which will have far reaching impacts on our future health.

  • Angel Chater, University of Bedfordshire - Professor of Health Psychology and Behaviour Change; Chair of the Division of Health Psychology; Working Group Lead
  • Lucie Byrne-Davis, University of Manchester - Professor of Health Psychology and Chair-Elect of the DHP
  • Gillian W Shorter, Queen's University Belfast - Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
  • Lesley Lewis, Public Health Wales - Public Health Practitioner
  • Eleanor Whittaker North Yorkshire County Council - Public Health Improvement Officer
  • Christopher Armitage, University of Manchester - Professor of Health Psychology
  • Paul Chadwick, University College London - Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Deputy Director, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change
  • Madelynne Arden, Sheffield Hallam University - Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology
  • Daryl O'Connor, University of Leeds - Professor of Psychology, Chair of BPS Research Board and BPS Trustee
  • Vivien Swanson, University of Stirling/NES Scotland - Reader in Health Psychology and NES Programme Lead
  • Jo Hart, University of Manchester - Past Chair Division of Health Psychology and Professor of Health Professional Education
  • Emily McBride, University College London - Senior Research Fellow; Policy Lead Division of Health Psychology
  • John Drury, University of Sussex - Social Psychologist 
  • Tracy Epton, University of Manchester - Lecturer in Health Psychology
  • Atiya Kamal, Birmingham City University - Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

Bereavement and Care of Relatives Workstream

This group is producing a toolkit of resources offering practical guidance and resources to mitigate the potential for complex grief.

Resources on managing death and bereavement for both public and professionals have been adapted for the Covid-19 pandemic.

They include advice on talking to children about death, supporting those with intellectual difficulties as well as older adults and those with dementia.

It also contains advice on end of life conversations, developing bereavement rituals and coping with grief.

  • Prof Nichola Rooney PhD FBPsS CPsychol (COVID-19 Bereavement Workstream Lead)

Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Queen's University Belfast
Chair DCP NI.
Vice Chair BPS NI.

  • Dr Angel Chater

Registered Health Psychologist.
Chair of the Division of Health Psychology and Member of Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
Reader in Health Psychology and Behaviour Change, University of Bedfordshire.

  • Dr Becci Dow

Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Vice-Chair of the Faculty of the Psychology of Older People (FPOP),
Oxford Health NHS Trust

  • Dr Frances Duffy

Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Division of Clinical Psychology, Faculty for the Psychology of Older People.
Psychology for Older People Services, Northern Health and Social Care Trust

  • Dr Theresa Jones

Registered Clinical Psychologist.
Senior Research Associate for Anthrologica and the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform

  • Dr Elaine Johnston

Lead Adult Intensive Care Clinical Psychologist, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.
British Psychological Society Crisis Disaster & Trauma Section Committee Member.

  • Polly Kaiser

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for older peoples' psychological therapy, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Psychological therapies workstream lead Division of Clinical Psychology, Faculty for the Psychology of Older People.
Honorary lecturer University of Manchester

  • Dr Elaine Kasket

Registered Counselling Psychologist.
Member of Division of Counselling Psychology and Cyberpsychology Section.
Independent Practice, London.

  • Dr Sarah Meekin

Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Head of Psychological Services Belfast Health & Social Care Trust.
DCPNI Policy Lead.

  • Benna Waites

Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Co-chair of Division of Clinical Psychology Leadership and Management Faculty.
DCP Wales Committee.
BPS Psychologists in Social Care Committee.
BPS Safeguarding Committee.

  • Dr Elaine McWilliams

Consultant Clinical Psychologist in End-of-Life Care.
Previous Chair of the BPS End-of-Life Working Party.
Member of the Division of Clinical Psychology and Faculty of Oncology and Palliative Care.

Community Action and Resilience (CAR) Workstream

The CAR workstream considers the ways in which psychology can inform, support and amplify community level responses to Covid-19 and our recovery from the pandemic.

We want to recognise the important role that communities and community organisations have played in looking after each other and our essential workers, whether through mutual aid groups, holding local and national government to account, or advocating for marginalised groups, and in doing so speak up for the importance of strengthening communities and inclusive participation processes as we try to #buildbackbetter after this pandemic. 

Community Psychology Resources of Interest in relation to Covid-19

We, the BPS Community Action Resilience (CAR) workstream, and Psychologists for Social Change have signed the Open Letter: Principles for a Just Recovery from COVID-19.

Our aim has been to apply these principles to our organisational responses.

The sections below include resources that may be relevant for psychologists working within or with certain communities, and many will be relevant for multiple communities.

We also recognise the diversity of humanity and intersectionality means that resources may not have relevance for some because of this.

This list is not definitive. More resources will be added over time.

General resources
Readings and webinars
Mutual Aid Groups
Digital exclusion
Marginalised groups
BPS Guidance
Community psychology practice during/after Covid-19

Below provides suggestions around actions which psychologists can take in their teams and services now.

The actions listed place focus on forming a different relationship to 'helper' and 'helped' by working in partnership with those directly affected by the described issues.

Potential actions/activities after Covid-19
  1. Solidarity and partnership building with local community organisations or grassroots groups - reaching out to them and offering mutual support with humility - they are the leaders
  2. Community mapping - who/which groups and orgs are in your local area, what are they asking for and what do groups need, what resources do they have?
  3. Power mapping - who has what power locally and what can we do to influence them and the systems they are part of? How to work with individuals whilst mapping power - David Smail
  4. Service mapping - what is still going? What's being closed down? Who might this affect?
  5. Thinking creatively about ways to transfer resources to those who need it most, including local community organisations - eg supporting with fundraising, crowdfunding or offering other forms of resources etc
  6. Supporting people to access resources and advocating for them where needed, for example via Turn2us
  7. Psychosocial accompaniment as psychological practice - 'bearing witness' being alongside as people experience this pandemic, not trying to change them, but bearing witness to their experiences of injustice etc
  8. Lobbying local government to ensure the needs of marginalised groups are understood eg new police powers, mental health Act changes, social care changes - write emails to local councillors, attend (virtual) council meetings if they are happening
  9. Connecting to your team/service/organisational leaders and asking questions about how they are considering the needs of the most marginalised groups - send them relevant reports from the lists above but also offer solutions and offer support to them to take action
  10. Connecting people together - who can you connect and how?
  11. Writing briefing papers for policy-makers about your area of work - by drawing on an ecological systems framework you may be able to draw attention to ideas and areas that policy-makers are not thinking about - important to analyse how the current context is affecting different groups - again offer solutions and support
  12. Developing partnerships with other relevant organisations and seeing if it's possible to address some of the social issues through joint campaigns/supporting local community action
  13. Draw on racial injustice briefing papers to hold leaders to account (team/service/organisation/local authority/national government leaders) around how Covid-19 may exacerbate injustice and inequalities - ask questions by email, write blogs, use social media, start working groups, create a collective, join campaigns, ask your organisation to join campaigns, write guidance/procedures/policies that try to mitigate for injustice. Again offer solutions and support to take action.
  14. If clinical or counselling - use the ecological framework model in clinical formulation - how are the social and economic structures and unequal power affecting people's psychological experience.
  15. How can you draw on the Just Recovery principles in your work/approach? Set up a working group with colleagues to discuss?
  16. Who has access to helping others as well as being helped? Starting small scale 'peer support' or mutual aid projects within your service - who can support who at this time?
  17. Starting small scale 'prevention' and coproduction projects - what are some of the key determinants that are affecting a marginalised group - how could you take action with that group to try and change those determinants?
  18. Starting small scale online 'creative' projects - how can you amplify people's creativity and can their creativity be harnessed to express to communicate with others as is needed for most marginalised groups
  19. Carry out small scale participatory action research on the impact of Covid-19 with a particular group - how you can use this to lift the voices of those who's experiences are unheard - look into organisatins like 'On Our Radar' and their toolkits

Effects of Confinement Workstream

This group brings together a diverse group of psychologists to examine the impacts on confinement and isolation on a wide range of vulnerable groups, to identify gaps and partners and to develop accessible resources.

The first key areas of focus will be to support children and young people along with their families, teachers and carers who are currently experiencing confinement who will be on transitions through the education system.

The group will also link with the Poverty to Flourishing campaign to respond to the effects of confinement for people living in poverty.

  • Adele Pashley
  • Alison Crawford
  • Allan Skelly
  • Almuth McDowall
  • Angel Chater
  • Dan O'Hare
  • Debbie Thorp
  • Debra Mortlock
  • Gavin Morgan
  • Georgia Pavlopoulou
  • Grace Crawford
  • Helen Griffiths
  • Helen Kitching (Chair of Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology)
  • Helena Bunn
  • Hester Riviere (DECP)
  • Judith Samuel (Vice of Chair of DCO Faculty for People with Disabilities)
  • Kim O'Connor (DECP)
  • Layne Whittaker
  • Liam Reilly (NI rep for Children, Young People, and Families Faculty)
  • Liz Gilchirst (Chair of Division of Forensic Psychology for Scotland)
  • Louisa Jackman
  • Matt Beeke (DECP)
  • Melernie Meheux (Joint Chair of Elect of DECP)
  • Miltos Hadjiosif
  • Olympia Palikara
  • Rebecca Dow
  • Rhona Hobson (NAPEC rep on DECP committee)
  • Sarah Butchard
  • Simon Gelsthorpe
  • Vivian Hill (Chair of DECP)

Rehabilitation Workstream

This group is developing guidance for professionals that considers the likely psychological needs of people who have been hospitalised with Covid-19 and the most effective ways to support their recovery.

The group brings together expertise on the psychological, functional and physical aspects of patients recovering from coronavirus and looks at the evidence and best practice to improve outcomes.

  • David Murphy (Co-lead), President 2019–2020, British Psychological Society
  • Dr Dorothy Wade (Co-lead), Principal Health Psychologist, Critical Care, UCLH NHS Trust
  • Professor Martin Bunnage, Head of Neuropsychology, North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Dr Anne-Marie Doyle, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Critical Care, Royal Brompton Hospital
  • Dr Simon Dupont, Head of Clinical Health Psychology, Hillingdon Hospital
  • Dr Jessica Fish, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Glasgow
  • Penelope Firshman, Clinical Lead Critical Care Occupational Therapist, Kings College Hospital
  • Dr Dorothy Frizelle, ACP-UK Director and Head of Psychology, Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust
  • Professor Valerie Morrison, Professor of Health Psychology, Bangor University
  • Professor Rona Moss-Morris, Professor of Psychology as Applied to Medicine, Kings College London
  • Dr Hannah Murray, Research Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma
  • Paul Twose, Critical Care Physiotherapist, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Research Priorities in Psychological Science Workstream

The purpose of this group is to produce a position paper aimed at funders and the wider psychological discipline, to give leadership and guidance, on key research priorities for psychological science in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full paper on research priorities for the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

  • Professor Daryl O'Connor (Lead and Deputy Chair, Co-ordinating Group)
  • Professor Chris Armitage (Co-Lead)
  • Professor Steve Reicher
  • Professor Sir Cary Cooper
  • Professor Sue Gathercole
  • Professor John Aggleton
  • Professor Sandra Dunsmuir
  • Professor Til Wykes
  • Professor Elizabeth Meins
Covid-19 research priorities for psychological science: a qualitative analysis

In advance of the position paper on Covid-19 research priorities an online survey of psychological scientists was conducted with the aim of ensuring that key research priorities were not missed and to receive feedback on the priorities developed.

The following qualitative analysis is intended to sit alongside the main paper to highlight the research priorities identified by the broader psychological science community.

Read the full qualitative analysis of Covid-19 research priorities.

Staff Wellbeing Workstream

The coronavirus crisis has placed unprecedented demands on staff working in health and social care in all corners of the UK.

This group moved quickly to produce guidance for leaders and managers of healthcare services to consider best practice for protecting the wellbeing needs of all healthcare staff.

It made recommendations for how to respond at individual, management and organisational level.

Working Differently Workstream

This workstream is responding to work-related issues by bringing together the expertise of colleagues across occupational psychology and other areas of applied practice and research.

We have seen major changes to normal life and people and organisations have needed to adapt with little warning. This has given rise to many questions, such as:

  • How are employers and employees adjusting in the short to medium term?
  • Do we return to the old way of doing things, or will we see new approaches to working life? 

The group will consider the psychological ramifications of remote and tele-working, changing travel, and the potential for new economic models, along with the application of psychology to support employers and employees.

  • Janet Fraser, COVID-19 Working Differently Chair; Division of Occupational Psychology, Chair Elect 
  • Dr Nick Bell, Honorary Principal Lecturer, Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Dr Gavin Breslin, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Ulster University
  • Dr Tracey Colville, Lecturer, School of Education and Social Work, University of Dundee
  • Dr Christine Grant, Occupational Psychologist, Coventry University 
  • Dr Gail Kinman, Visiting Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, Birkbeck University of London 
  • Dr Richard Kwiatowski, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Cranfield University 
  • Dr Catherine Steele, Associate Professor Occupational Psychology, University of Leicester 
  • Dr Noreen Tehrani, Director, Noreen Tehrani Associates 
  • Dr Louise Thomson, Assistant Professor in Occupational Psychology, University of Nottingham 
  • Benna Waites, Division of Clinical Psychology Leadership and Management Faculty Co-Chair
  • Layne Whittaker, BPS Diversity and Inclusion Champion