APA Interdivisional Task Force on COVID-19

A group of psychologists, members of four divisions of the American Psychological Association, under the lead of Division 56 and Division 39, came together in late March of 2020 to reach out to help colleagues deal with the trauma from COVID-19. This was a grassroots’ coming together of concerned psychologists who wanted to help and generated a unified mission: to enable psychologists to share knowledge and resources about the psychological impact of the pandemic, how we can cope with it, and how we can minimize deleterious impact. These resources would be available to help other psychologists, first-line responders, caregivers, families, and children who are impacted by this trauma. In addition, the advent of communications and therapy via Zoom presents new challenges for education, training and psychotherapy.

This Task Force formed specific Working Groups, each focusing on a specific area of application or population. Each of these working groups curated materials and then disseminated them to help psychologists and anyone affected by the pandemics. Through this work, they also supported each other to prevent compassion fatigue and build resilience. 

There are general resources provided below, as well as resources collated under each of the Working Groups, pertaining to the particular sub-population the group is focused on. 

General Resources:

Resources for individuals

Working Groups Formed

Working groups are focusing on the following areas, with several under development. All seek membership and assistance from Task Force members:

Hospital, Health & Addiction Workers, Patients and Families

Older Adults and Caregivers

Professional Support for Psychologists

  • Mission statement: Psychologists working with patients who have been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19, including front-line health care workers, and who are providing support to front-line COVID-19 workers, often experience secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue which can affect their professional work and personal lives. This working group within the APA COVID-19 Task Force will assess the needs and preferred forms of support of psychologists and other mental health providers, and will develop and guide the implementation of needed peer-to-peer professional support for managing these impacts. The support will include virtual discussion groups and educational presentations designed to enhance mental health professionals' personal wellness and to facilitate the delivery of psychological and other mental health services that are tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of front-line workers and other persons directly affected by the pandemic.
  • Resources:
    • The Professional Support for Psychologists subcommittee will be hosting video conferencing support meetings throughout the week. These meetings will provide an informal, supportive space for mental health clinicians to join and connect during the pandemic. Access is free and available to mental health providers.
    • Co-Chairs: Melissa Wasserman, & Julian Ford

Immigrants and Refugees

  • Mission statement: The mission of the Refugees and Immigrant Concerns (RIC) Working Group is to work within an interdisciplinary, integrative system of care to serve the COVID related pandemic related mental health, psychosocial needs and advocacy needs of refugees, immigrants, migrants  and related communities.  Our goal is to identify and disseminate helpful resources addressing the diverse and multicultural needs of these communities, and the harmful effects of marginalization.  The committee recognizes the strengths and resiliency of these communities and will continue to find ways to leverage that strength in meeting ongoing needs.  We seek an inclusive membership, where members of the communities this working group strives to serve are represented in the RIC Working Group itself.  Only through such full representation can our work be considered fair, just and equitable.
  • Co-Chairs: Monica Indart & Falu Rami

Interpersonal Violence

Support for Children and Families

International Whole Person Approaches

​​​​​​​Crisis Intervention Teams/Trauma Consultation

  • Mission statement: The Crisis Intervention Teams/Trauma Consultation working group's mission is to provide varying resources depending on crisis stage to individuals and organizations in emergent crisis affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly emergency/crisis responders (e.g., fire dept, police dept, EMTs), other essential workers, and mental health providers registered through state crisis registries.  The group is also working on the development of a new framework of providing crisis management and emergency services to meet the unique needs of the current COVID-19 pandemic and evaluating current models of crisis intervention services.  In addition, the working group is reviewing systemic barriers, gaps, and resources currently available.
  • Chair: Falu Rami

Higher Education Students

The Research Initiatives Working Group (RIWG)

  • Mission statement: The RIWG is committed to compiling a collection of currently available knowledge base on the psychological impact of Covid-19 in a multidisciplinary and international perspective. The goal is to inform students, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, stakeholders, professionals and relevant scholarship on the multidimensional impact of Covid-19 and related psychological treatment, prevention and intervention resources. To this end, RIWG advances the knowledge base through a repository and dissemination of newly published materials and resources such as peer-reviewed articles, reports, calls for papers, funding opportunities, conferences, webinars, symposia as well as a Covid-19 research map with scholars conducting relevant work in international, multidisciplinary and global settings.
  • Co-chairs: Radosveta Dimitrova and Rita Rivera
  • Resources