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The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced labour Studies–Hugo Sinzheimer institute (AIAS-HSI) coordinates a 2-year project COMET: COvid-19 crisis, MEntal health of healthcare workers and Trade unions actions. AIAS-HSI is in charge of the research part. The European Public Service Union (EPSU) and the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) provides support and is in charge of the dissemination of the research findings.

Background of the project

The Covid-19 crisis has had a severe impact on the already strained mental health of healthcare workers. Trade unions, workers and hospitals are in need of better understanding what measures and initiatives can be effective to mitigate these effects, in order to avoid that future pandemics put hospitals and their workers under similar pressure, and to address the more structural mental health problems in the sector.

Focus in research

The project COMET (COvid-19 crisis, MEntal health of healthcare workers and Trade union actions) aims for an ambitious, exhaustive examination of the responses by unions, workers and hospitals to the mental health impact of Covid-19. To that aim, the project conducts a survey among the health sector affiliates of the European Public Service Union (EPSU) to provide an overview of the various responses by unions, workers and hospitals aimed to prevent, soften or treat mental health problems emerging during and after the Covid-19 crisis. This includes responses through collective bargaining, social dialogue and works councils or company unions. Next, the project identifies and analyses successful measures in the form of case study research, providing more in-depth information on factors influencing the success and sustainability of initiatives as well as the dimensions and scope of examples of good practice, in order to identify useful lessons.

COMET uses a targeted approach in disseminating the research findings and policy lessons to various groups, including healthcare trade unions, mental health professionals and policy makers.


Prof. dr. M.J. (Maarten) Keune


Dr. W.S. (Wieteke) Conen


Dr. F.H. (Frank) Tros