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Media Advisory: NIMH Experts Available to Discuss Mental Health Concerns Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Media Advisory


The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. and across the world has led many people to feel anxious and fearful about what the next few weeks and months hold. During this uncertain time, physical distancing measures meant to help reduce virus transmission may add additional stress to an already difficult situation. Perhaps more than ever, expert insight is needed to help people support their mental health.

Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are available to speak with reporters and members of the media on a variety of topics related to mental health and the coronavirus pandemic, such as the effects of the pandemic and isolation on those with and without mental illnesses; healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and loneliness; how to talk with children and teens about the coronavirus; and how people can find mental health help and support if they need it.


Dr. Gordon has combined expertise in psychiatry and neuroscience, having practiced as a licensed psychiatrist while maintaining a robust research program. He currently oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and clinical research that seeks to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. Dr. Gordon’s own research focuses on understanding the genetic contributions and brain circuitry underlying mental illnesses. His work has direct relevance to disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.

  • Maryland Pao, M.D., NIMH Clinical Director, Intramural Research Program; Deputy Scientific Director, NIMH

Dr. Pao is a board-certified clinician in Pediatrics, General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine. Her core research interests are in the complex interactions between psychiatric and physical illnesses, including pediatric oncology, pediatric HIV, and other primary immunodeficiencies. Dr. Pao also studies distress, suicide, and coping and adaptation in medically ill children.

  • Krystal M. Lewis, Ph.D., Clinical psychologist in the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience, part of NIMHs Intramural Research Program

Dr. Lewis is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive training and experience in pediatric anxiety. She provides evidence-based treatments and preventative interventions to youth and families and collaborates with schools to promote youth mental health. Her research interests include identifying mechanisms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with anxious youth. Dr. Lewis is an active member and leader with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

  • Jane Pearson, Ph.D., Chair of the NIMH Suicide Research Consortium

Dr. Jane Pearson is the Special Advisor to the NIMH Director on Suicide Research. She leads the NIMH Suicide Prevention Research Team, developing strategies for NIMH suicide prevention research . She leads the staffing for NIMH collaboration with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention . Dr. Pearson is a clinical psychologist, and an adjunct associate professor at Johns Hopkins University. She has authored papers on the ethical and methodological challenges of suicide research.

  • Farris Tuma, Sc.D., Chief of the Traumatic Stress Research Program, part of NIMH’s Division of Translational Research

Dr. Tuma serves as the NIMH point of contact for research on violence and trauma. He manages a research funding program on the mental health consequences of trauma (including disasters and large-scale trauma such as war, terrorism, mass violence and shootings, natural and technological disaster, refugee trauma and relocation, and torture) on children, adolescents, and adults.

Additional NIMH experts who can speak on a wide variety of topics—such as the impact of the coronavirus on those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the use of mental health apps for support—are available.

For interviews, photos, or additional background information, please contact the NIMH Press Office at 301-443-4536 or