COVID-19 Updates and Information From Columbia Psychiatry

December 2, 2020

Latest News on COVID-19

Updates on policies for the ongoing care of patients and research participants.

COVID-19 Support & Resources

Links to support and resources for coping with specific situations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Pediatricians Can Help Children and Parents Deal with the Pandemic

"Our guidance emphasizes the importance of building resilience in families. We should instead focus on “what’s strong” and consistently build those factors," said Evelyn Berger-Jenkins, MD, MPH.

The Long Darkness Before Dawn

The key to enforcing mask laws, noted Robert Klitzman, MD is to punish not people but the owners of buildings that ignore restrictions; Quebec, he noted, fines stores $4,500 if customers are unmasked.

Transitioning in the Age of Zoom

Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD says that the impact of the pandemic on queer people depends on who surrounds them—both physically and virtually.

Morgan Stanley Announces $1.3 Million Grant to Columbia University Department of Psychiatry

“The COVID-19 pandemic will be accompanied by a wave of mental health consequences for children, adolescents, and families,” said Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, MD.

Dreaming in Zoom

"During this time of unprecedented isolation and separation, our pandemic dreams connect us to one another and to this terrifying moment in global history," writes Deborah L. Cabaniss, MD.

What Mental Health Professionals Have Learned Six Months into Pandemic Care

“I think definitely more people are more anxious and depressed, but is it more illness? Is there an uptick in actual disorders? I don’t know,” says Philip Muskin, MD

Amidst Pandemic, Election Stress Is at an All-Time High

"People across political divides believe that leaders from the opposite side pose a significant threat to their way of life and the well-being of the country as a whole," says Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD.

The Dangers of Trump’s COVID-19 Treatment Plan, AKA “VIP Syndrome”

“V.I.P. syndrome occurs when a celebrity or otherwise well-connected ‘very important person’ receives a level of care not available to the average patient,” wrote Robert Klitzman, MD.

Childhood Loneliness Can Have Long-Term Mental Health Implications

"For children not physically attending school, it is important to build and maintain other meaningful social opportunities," says  Anthony Puliafico, PhD .

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Transgender and Non-Binary Community

"Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was common to hear, “the virus is the great equalizer.” However, this crisis quickly illuminated the deep inequities in obtaining access to the necessary building blocks of health. This is especially true for the Transgender and Non-Binary (TGNB) community," write Julie Woulfe, PhD and Melina Wald, PhD.

Lockdown Helped Me Recognise My Gender Identity

"Some trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming young people have been able to explore and better understand themselves and their identities during lockdown," Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD explains.

If You See Someone Not Wearing a Mask, Do You Say Something?

"At a certain point, if everyone sports masks, they can become a new norm, but getting to this point takes time," writes Robert Klitzman, MD.

Research Ramps Up After Pause for Pandemic

“I know there was a dip in experimental productivity initially, but in the last six weeks, I think we’re almost back to normal,” says David Sulzer, PhD.

Sharing Vulnerability: A Secret to Closer Friendships

"Today, there isn’t anyone who can honestly say, “Everything’s great! No problems at all!” in response to the “What’s up?” query," writes Deborah Cabaniss, MD.

Teletherapy: One Step Removed

For the past few months, therapists have been acclimating to the “new normal” of meeting with their patients virtually.

Helping Children With Pandemic Grief

“Kids are seeing loss in many different ways,” Elena Lister, MD said. ““They’re surrounded by it — in the news, their parents are talking about it — it’s so unlike regular life where we all chug along at a kind of level of denial of our mortality.”

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Chair, Columbia Department of Psychiatry and COVID-19 Mental Health Challenges

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD joined international researchers, clinicians, mental health experts, and services users to reflect on the challenges COVID-19 poses to mental health.

Gun Suicide Rates Were Rising Even Before the Pandemic: CDC

Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber, PhD worries that the pandemic will create a confluence of risk factors for suicide.

How to Help Kids Manage Back-to-School Anxiety in the Covid Era

If children are worried about getting sick or loved ones getting sick, highlight “how people are staying safe in the family,” says Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP.

Older Adults With Existing Depression Show Resilience During the Pandemic

A study involving older adults with pre-existing major depressive disorder found no increase in depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 on Communities of Color

Oops! If you missed the August 12th conversation with Patrice Harris, MD and Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, moderated by Linda Rosenberg, MSW, we have it right here.

Redeployed: Columbia Physicians Describe Their COVID-19 Reassignments

When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, Columbia staff was notified that the possibility of redeployment could be their fate.

Coronavirus Turmoil Raises Depression Risks in Young Adults

The possibility that Covid is going to completely change this period of their life, and they won’t ever get it back, is overwhelming for a lot of them,” Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP  says of young people.

Coping with COVID-19: Turning the Mind Towards Acceptance

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on into the foreseeable future, Jared O'Garro-Moore, PhD and Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD explain how it can be helpful to turn our minds towards acceptance.

Raising a Teenager With an Eating Disorder in a Pandemic

B. Timothy Walsh, MD and Deborah Glasofer, PhD share advice for parents of teenagers with eating disorders to support them during the COVID-10 pandemic.

Managing Eating Disorders During COVID-19

Concerned about relapse and maintaining recovery, practitioners and patients are embracing teletherapy now that face-to-face sessions are less of an option.

Helping the Helpers: Health Care Worker’s Mental Health Care

A look at COVID-19’s toll on healthcare workers including deployed psychiatric residents.

4 Major Concerns School-Based Mental Health Professionals Have for Students This Fall

Columbia Psychiatry’s Linda Rosenberg, MSW,  discusses mental health professional's major concerns about the effects of schools reopening during COVID19 on students.

The Pandemic’s Psychological Toll

Emergency physician Lorna Breen, MD, who worked on the front lines, got sick with the coronavirus and went right back to work, only to kill herself shortly thereafter. Her survivors want to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. So do the psychiatrists behind a new hotline for physicians.

Psychiatry Trainees Drive COVID-19 Palliative Care in New York

This past spring, CUIMC met the demand for palliative care in COVID-19 patients in acute care and emergency settings by training and redeploying psychiatry trainees.

Left Behind as the World Reopens 

Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP speaks with the New York Times about the mental health challenges still faced by those with pre-existing conditions during this pandemic.  

COVID Q&A: The Stress of Living With Others

We spoke to Diana Samuel, MD about how to live peacefully among family members and roommates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking Care of Our Caregivers

Harvard Business Review highlights CopeColumbia which, among a number of support services, offers virtual peer support groups for frontline caregivers.

Tips to Eat Healthier During the Pandemic

Drew Ramsey, MD offers tips on how to eat healthier during the pandemic.

Coping Circles Help New Yorkers Deal with the Emotional Impact of COVID-19

Coping Circles provide home-based support and resilience tele-group sessions to help people who are feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic.

NY Psych Residents Describe 'Tsunami' of COVID-19 Patients

Nina Gao, MD, Meredith Senter, MD and Alana Mendelsohn MD who have toiled in the front lines for several weeks share some of their experiences.

Imperfect Victims: Mental Illness and Police Brutality

Stephanie Le Melle, MD speaks with the editor and publisher of CJR about how to report on police violence against Black sufferers of serious mental illness.

COVID-19 Causing PTSD in Doctors and Nurses

Yuval Neria, PhD discusses the coronavirus pandemic’s mental health consequences on the healthcare workers tasked with combating it. 

COVID Q&A: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Yuval Neria, PhD speaks about PTSD during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 in People With Schizophrenia

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD helps us understand how COVID-19 affects patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.

Amid Surge In COVID-19 Cases, CDC Has More Advice For How To Stay Safe

Ryan Sultan, MD says a goal can help give structure and purpose to long summer days, especially for kids who are anxious about the uncertainty of these times.

First- Episode Psychosis in the Time of COVID-19

"Teletherapy and virtual medication management alone may not adequately address the needs of some of the populations we serve," writes Angela Coombs, MD.

How to Soothe Your 'Re-Entry Anxiety' As COVID-19 Lockdowns Lift

“Exposure therapy“— or safely confronting sources of fear—is the gold-standard treatment for many fear and anxiety disorders. The same tactic may help with re-entry anxiety, says Ryan Sultan, MD.

Our Next Crisis Will Be Caring for Survivors of Covid-19

What we know from the limited data about survivors of Covid-19 raises significant concerns, writes Robert Klitzman, MD.

Antidepressant Zoloft and Generic Version in Short Supply, FDA Says

"I haven't talked to a single patient who isn't anxious," said Philip Muskin, MD

Nobody Wants to Have End-of-Life Conversations, but...

"Family members should understand their loved ones’ goals and wishes for treatment in the event of critical illness. The COVID era has heightened the need for these conversations, as initial studies show that intubated COVID-19 patients often do not survive," writes Christopher Magoon, MD.

How to Communicate Expressions That Masks Cover

Ryan Sultan, MD discusses how mask wears can convey messages when facial expressions are partially concealed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study Aims to Document Whether Yoga and Meditation Can Reduce COVID-19 Anxiety

Brian Fallon, MD, MPH is launching a study designed to help increase personal resilience and coping strategies using well-known anxiety soothing techniques.

Veteran Suicide Risk Could Increase as COVID-19 Pandemic Diminishes, Experts Warn

"We expect to see fallout in terms of possible increases in suicide as a tail going forward," said Barbara Stanley, PhD referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health

The United Nations has warned the coronavirus pandemic “has the seeds of a major mental health crisis,” and calls for substantial investment in support services.

COVID Q&A: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Rachel Ginsberg, PhD discusses living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is Everyone Depressed?

“We are witnessing the mental-health implications of massive disease and death,” Robert Klitzman, MD says.

Health-Care Workers Stemming The Pandemic Need Special Mental Health Support 

"There will be no one-size-fits-all strategy for dealing with the mental health of frontline workers," writes Ragy Girgis, MD.

Suicide Risk for Veterans Could Grow as Coronavirus Crisis Winds Down

“During the actual crisis, suicides can go down. It’s in the aftermath that it gets worse,” said Barbara Stanley, PhD.

A Worsening Crisis: Mental Health Concerns Exacerbated by the Coronavirus Pandemic

“I think people will come out of this whole thing … with very, very damaged psyches,” said Andrew Solomon, PhD, referring to to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exactly How to Deal With an Eating Disorder While Social Distancing

Being isolated with limited resources messes with the when, how, and what you eat, says Deborah Glasofer, PhD.

What Past Disasters Tell Us About COVID-19 and Substance Abuse

We are currently dealing with the "triple trouble" of a pandemic, unemployment, and diminished personal and community supports writes Lloyd I. Sederer, MD.

COVID Q&A: Insomnia

Ethan Gorenstein, PhD gives some practical advice for those suffering from insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Psychological Toll of Reopening to Further Divide Between 'Haves' and 'Have-Nots'

"Nurses, doctors, first responders, people are really struggling with post-traumatic reactions already," said Yuval Neria, PhD.

The Mental Health Aftermath of COVID-19

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD and Laurel Mayer, MD discuss the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.

Research in the Time of COVID-19: Virtual and Digital Technology in Studies of Early Psychosis

“The emergence of COVID-19 has forced health systems to transition rapidly to telehealth, while psychiatric research has ground to a halt,” writes Ragy Girgis, MD and his co-authors. 

The Impact of Infectious Diseases on the Brain

Brian Fallon, MD, MPH discusses anxiety, trauma, and infectious diseases and the effects those conditions can have on the brain. 

Tackling Nursing Home Vulnerability to Reduce the COVID-19 Death Rate

Davangere P. Devanand, MBBS, MD, discusses the plight of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Are You Feeling?

Anthony Puliafico, PhD talks with a group of kids about how they’re feeling while continuing life at home during the COVID-19 pandemic on NBC's Nightly News: Kids Edition.

Waiting for My Daughter Blueberry in the Year Zero of COVID-19

Christopher Magoon, MD writes about his experience as a first-year doctor specializing in psychiatry redeployed to work in the ICU.

Psychiatric Ramications of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD and Mark Olfson, MD, MPH appear on The Psychiatric Times to discuss the psychiatric impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Introducing ‘Front and Center’ in the Coronavirus Pandemic

Members of Columbia’s faculty tell what they’re witnessing and what worries them during the COVID-19 crisis.

Mental Health Awareness During COVID-19 Outbreak

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD joins NY1 to discuss the mental health impact of this outbreak on frontline health care workers.

Straight Talk About the Mental Health of Children & Adolescents During COVID-19  

Warren Y. K. Ng, MD, MPH joins The Perkins Platform to talk about how this outbreak is impacting the lives of young people.

POTUS Dr. Lieberman 05.01.20

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD appears with Chris Cuomo on his Sirius XM show to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Colleague’s Death, and Our Collective Psychological Pain: A Psychiatrist Who Worked With Dr. Lorna Breen Reflects on Coronavirus’ Mental Health Strain

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD remembers his colleague Dr. Lorna Breen and highlights the need for mental health support for first responders and health care professionals.

Doctor Warns of the Pandemic's Psychiatric Impact

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD discusses the loss of colleague Dr. Lorna M. Breen to suicide and the toll the coronavirus is taking on the mental health of front line workers.

Practical Advice for Parenting Young Athletes Sidelined by the COVID-19 Crisis 

Lourival Baptista-Neto, MD joins his colleagues from Columbia Orthopedics to discuss how parents can help their children avoid depression with the lack of sports and activities.

Shall We Reap What We Sow From the Pandemic?

"This disaster is different from any we have survived," writes Lloyd I. Sederer, MD.

Meeting the Mental Health Challenge of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD and Mark Olfson, MD, MPH examine the new challenges to health and mental health care delivery presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More People Are Using Antidepressants and Antianxiety Medications During Coronavirus Pandemic: Survey

“We’re using antidepressants more and more to treat both anxiety and depression,” said Michael Liebowitz, MD.

How's Your Recovery?

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD takes calls from listeners struggling to manage their addictions and compulsions during isolation.

Duke-Margolis/Alexandria Summit Webinar: Developing a Therapeutic Response to COVID-19

Experts focus on the therapeutics that could potentially come to market and help improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19 before vaccines become available.

Why Are Some People Still Refusing to Practice Social Distancing?

“Mixed messaging around social distancing from people in authority decreases the probability that people will practice it," said Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD .

COVID-19 CRISIS: Pandemic Anxiety

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD and Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP discuss why it’s normal to feel anxiety during this time, and talk about the support and resources available that can help you take control and structure your “new normal” during this pandemic.

Mental Health Challenges During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Yuval Neria, PhD said, "We know already from previous disasters that ongoing anxiety during trauma is a huge risk factor for PTSD and depression in the long term." 

COVID-19 CRISIS: Molecular and Serological Testing with Dr. Eldad Hod

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD speaks with Eldad Hod, MD, who is leading the efforts to implement serological testing to identify patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and who may qualify as convalescent plasma donors.

Coronavirus Doctors Face the Most Awful Choice: Who Will Live?

“We are in the battlefield, Robert Klitzman, MD said. “Doctors are now working in the trenches. They are overwhelmed." 

Teletherapy: Connecting Therapists and Clients During a Time of Separation

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD discusses the use of teletherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building COVID Diagnostic Capacity Now and for the Future 

Experts from the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy focus on the availability of rapid, reliable diagnostic testing to manage the current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to contain future outbreaks.

Continuing Care in the Midst of COVID-19

Jen Sotsky, MD and Angela Coombs, MD offer the point of view of two early career psychiatrists on the COVID-19 crisis. 

'We Will Get Through This': Advice for Lessening Your Pandemic Anxiety

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD discusses how the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak has made the work of mental health professionals an essential part of the response.

Finding New Ways to Connect in a Crisis

Myrna Weissman, PhD discusses the impact of loneliness on mental health, as well as ways to stay connected when circumstances dictate you must stay at home.

Being Essential in the Time of COVID-19

Nicole Allen, MD and Adrienne D. Mishkin, MD discuss the essential role of psychiatry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘I Don’t Need to Feel Guilty’: How Women Recovering From Eating Disorders Are Coping With Isolation

“There are many aspects of the very unusual life patterns that we are now being asked to follow that change the way we eat,” says Evelyn Attia, MD. “For someone who’s vulnerable, these kinds of changes can make things harder.”

AllenComm Partners with Columbia University Psychiatric Department to Offer Free Online Guide to Overcome Anxiety Caused by COVID-19

“Anxiety can run wild during times of uncertainty and crisis,” says Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP. “Our goal is to give practical information on how to think through, calm yourself, and manage during this COVID-19 pandemic. This guide gives practical steps for how to keep your calm during a time of uncertainty.”

Coronavirus Pandemic Could Inflict Emotional Trauma and PTSD on an Unprecedented Scale, Scientists Warn

“The scale of this outbreak as a traumatic event is almost beyond comprehension,” said Yuval Neria, PhD.

Mental Health on the Frontlines of COVID-19

Kathleen Pike, PhD describes the five stages of her surgeon sister's emotional and psychological journey while on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Tips for Transitioning to Telepsychiatry

Drew Ramsey, MD shares some of his experiences in changing his practice to do more telepsychiatry.

How You Can Take Care of Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD lists five ways to take better care of ourselves and quiet the stress as we face the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Use Social Distancing to Get Closer to Your Friends and Family

Anthony Puliafico, PhD discusses how to use this time to get closer to the people who matter most to us. 

China's Coronavirus Response Included Mental Health Assistance

Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD said, "Studies suggest that clinical levels of anxiety increased in China after the COVID-19 outbreak and we can expect clinical levels of anxiety to rise in the U.S."

Pandemic Foreshadows Crisis in Mental Health Services

"The sobering reality is that high-quality mental health care is not available to most people," writes Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD.

Columbia Psychiatry Providing Support for CUIMC Faculty

The Department of Psychiatry at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is providing psychological support and guidance for stress management to CUIMC faculty and staff during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Coping With COVID-19 Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions

Every day, the COVID-19 outbreak confronts us with new challenges that affect both our personal and professional lives. This can take a real toll on all of our mental health. Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD answers some of the most frequently asked questions that are facing us as we learn to cope with this crisis.

Tips for Parents on Coping with COVID

Lauren J. Hoffman, PsyD and Steve Mazza, PhD give some guidance for taking care of yourself and your family.

Worried Sick: Fighting Stress and Anxiety in the Midst of COVID-19

Anthony Puliafico, PhD discusses the long list of concerns that can accompany a public health pandemic like COVID-19. 

Talking with Children About Coronavirus

Dara M. Steinberg, PhD and Anthony Puliafico, PhD offer some tips to help parents and other caregivers talk about COVID-19 with children.

Staying Mentally Health to Weather the COVID19 Crisis

"Anxiety is a normal emotion and it is to be expected during this unprecedented crisis," write Jeffrey Lieberman, MD and Laurel Mayer, MD.

This Coronavirus Patient Dodged A Bullet With Hydroxychloroquine. Is She A Harbinger Or Outlier?

Brian A. Fallon, MD, MPH comments on a study reporting that hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin may be helpful treating COVID-19.

Managing Anxiety During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Brian A. Fallon, MD, MPH shares his recommendations on how to manage anxiety while remaining safe. 

What Do We Know About Resilience in the Wake of Disaster?

“We face an unprecedented time, a worldwide pandemic, in which no one will be spared in one way or another,” writes Lloyd I. Sederer, MD.

MSNBC 3.17.20 Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD answers viewers' questions regarding coping with the Coronavirus.

COVID-19 CRISIS PART 1: Dr. Brian Fallon

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD discusses the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with Brian Fallon, MD, MPH.

COVID-19 CRISIS PART 2: Sid Mukherjee

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD discusses the impact of the COVID-19 on medicine and society at large with Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD.

COVID-19 CRISIS PART 3: Dr. Ian Lipkin

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD discusses the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, what it means for everyday people, and what people should expect with infectious disease expert, W. Ian Lipkin, MD

Coping with Anxiety and Stress in the Age of Coronavirus

Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP shares some thoughts and expert advice on how to cope in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis.

6 Healthy Ways to Manage Your Coronavirus Anxiety, According to Psychologists

Jeffrey Cohen, PsyD says being aware of your anxiety may also help you better manage it in future instances.

Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands: 5 Tips for Managing Stress Around Coronavirus

"Even though it might feel relieving in the moment to look at exactly where coronavirus is and if it's spread, that's actually leading to more and more anxiety," Anthony Puliafico, PhD said.

Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Anthony Puliafico, PhD explains how to cope with stress and anxiety as the COVID-19 outbreak begins to become real to Americans.

NYS Office of Mental Health Travel Notice

NYP COVID-19 Info Sheet

NYP COVID-19 Strategy for Outpatient Clinics and Practices

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