Exploring the effectiveness of a digital platform to support mental health among health care workers


Mental health needs were disproportionately high among health care workers (HCWs) before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the rapid spread of the disease forced providers to grapple with additional stressors, including longer shifts, shortages of personal protective equipment, increased mortality and morbidity, and isolation.

As the pandemic continues, more and more HCWs are experiencing psychiatric symptoms, including post-traumatic stress, acute anxiety, substance use, depression, and suicide. 


COBALT is a HIPAA-compliant web-based platform that offers HCWs immediate access to mental health support. It was developed by clinicians at Penn Medicine with support from the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation and launched during the spring of 2020.

We are conducting a randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of the platform to support the mental health of HCWs during the response and recovery phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The COBALT+ is currently underway. Outcomes will be reported here once results are published.



  • Lauren Southwick, MPH
  • Rachel Gonzales
  • Arthur Pelullo, MS
  • Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH, MSHP
  • Mohan Balachandran, MA, MS
  • Kelley Kugler, MS
  • David Asch, MD, MBA
  • Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, FAHA


  • Lisa Bellini, MD
  • Judy Shea, PhD
  • Courtney Wolk, PhD
  • Rachel Kishton, MD
  • Nandita Mitra, PhD
  • Noelle Ciara, DSW, LCSW, ACM-SW
  • Emily Becker-Haimes, PhD
  • Xmog
  • Department of Psychiatry
  • TEAMS Clinic