Covid-19 response: Traumatic stress in the age of Covid-19: A call to close critical gaps and adapt to new realities

Danny Horesh, Adam D. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

489 Scopus citations


The Issue: Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) is transforming every aspect of our lives. Identified in late 2019, COVID-19 quickly became characterized as a global pandemic by March of 2020. Given the rapid acceleration of transmission, and the lack of preparedness to prevent and treat this virus, the negative impacts of COVID-19 are rippling through every facet of society. Although large numbers of people throughout the world will show resilience to the profound loss, stress, and fear associated with COVID-19, the virus will likely exacerbate existing mental health disorders and contribute to the onset of new stress-related disorders for many. Recommendations: The field of traumatic stress should address the serious needs that will emerge now and well into the future. However, we propose that these efforts may be limited, in part, by ongoing gaps that exist within our research and clinical care. In particular, we suggest that COVID-19 requires us to prioritize and mobilize as a research and clinical community around several key areas: (a) diagnostics, (b) prevention, (c) public outreach and communication, (d) working with medical staff and mainstreaming into nonmental health services, and (e) COVID-19-specific trauma research. As members of our community begin to rapidly develop and test interventions for COVID-19-related distress, we hope that those in positions of leadership in the field of traumatic stress consider limits of our current approaches, and invest the intellectual and financial resources urgently needed in order to innovate, forge partnerships, and develop the technologies to support those in greatest need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association.


  • COVID-19
  • PTSD
  • Pandemic
  • Trauma
  • Virus


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