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Welcome to the Trauma and Mental Health Lab at the Yale School of Public Health

We are a group of researchers focused on understanding the long-term psychological consequences of a range of potentially traumatic events. For more information about who we are and the work we do, please click on the links above.

Sarah Lowe, PhD, on a Public Health Approach to Mental Health

Sarah Lowe, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the long-term mental health consequences of a range of potentially traumatic events, from hurricanes to pandemics. While doing her clinical training with trauma survivors at a community health care center in Boston, Lowe's patients were dealing with more immediate life stressors, like not having a place to live. "That showed me that you can't understand mental health without paying attention to the context and the social and economic stressors that trauma survivors face," she says. Lowe explains that within public health "we're able to look at those things simultaneously. So both the symptoms and treating symptoms but also thinking about systems and policies that both put people at risk for trauma, but then make their traumatic experiences even more negatively impactful." As a disaster mental health researcher, Lowe immediately knew the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be a mental health crisis. She's collaborated with students and other faculty on work related to the pandemic and mental health, particularly the mental health burden of health care workers on the frontlines. "I can say in this pandemic, Yale was able to provide support to me and to my colleagues to do really cutting-edge research. Just observing my colleagues  on the forefront of the response to the pandemic doing things like modeling transmission, understanding the genetics of the virus, that's been really really inspiring to see."

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