Coronavirus and depression in UK adults

ended 01. October 2021

This morning, the Office for National Statistics published a report on Coronavirus and Depression in Adults. Three key findings were:

  • Around 1 in 4 (24%) adults living in the most deprived areas of England experienced some form of depression; this compared with around 1 in 8 (12%) adults in the least deprived areas of England.
  • Disabled (36%) and clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults (28%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (8%) and non-CEV adults (16%).
  • Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression, with around 1 in 3 (32%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms, compared with 20% of men of the same age.

We sought the views of consultant psychologists and othert mental health experts. A selection are below.

8 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"We've seen increases across the board in mental health challenges over the past 18 months. For those who previously had the challenge of navigating mental illness, the uncertainty and instability along with decreased access to services, isolation and financial struggles have amplified the difficulties they face. In our workplace data, we started to see those who had never previously reported mental wellbeing challenges starting to report they were struggling. Covid has highlighted the health inequalities we have in this country and health and wealth are very close bed partners. Looking at those who have suffered most, young people, those with disabilities and ethnic minority communities have been impacted much more. As we look to move forward, now is the time to build a healthier, more resilient society, addressing the root causes of poor mental health across our island. While the Government is myopically focused on the economy, the real key to prosperity is to ensure we are also growing the health of the nation in an interconnected way."
Star Quote
"We conducted a survey of deaf people, which revealed that more than 1 in 3 deaf people felt the pandemic had a major negative impact on their mental health. 61% of respondents reported anxiety, 35% reported depression and 9% reported trauma. Our therapy service has also had an increase in referrals during this period. "Many deaf people rely on lip-reading and facial expressions to understand spoken English. During the pandemic, face mask requirements and the shift to services being offered only over the phone significantly reduced deaf peoples’ access to communication in virtually every aspect of life, including services and information that could save their lives. Many survey respondents listed face masks and isolation as the most significant challenges caused by the pandemic. We believe more needs to be done to ensure equitable access to mental health support and healthcare."
Star Quote
"I have seen a rise in clients with depression and anxiety across a range of age groups, but in particular adults on furlough who have lost daily routine and interaction with others. Also children who have lost social interaction with peers and have difficulty adjusting back into societal norms. Beyond a GP consultation, people can seek professional support that enables them to recognise their strengths and the things that are going well in life and the adaptability they have demonstrated during this time. Being solution-focused can benefit immensely alongside additional support to stay active and interactive with others. Socialising is a very important part of our society and being able to communicate with support."
Star Quote
"Our teams have seen a lot of anxiety from small high street business owners who have had to navigate in a fog for over 20 months, with their entire life's work and livelihoods at risk. As a result we have seen business owners suffering from depression, anxiety and breakdowns. It has been distressing for everyone of course, but these owners are often the anchors of our communities, people we rely on to make us happy. Now these local shops and services have five and half times the debt they had pre-Covid, it's up to us all to help them recover."
"The first lockdown resulted in a rise in referrals to my clinical psychology practice for a variety of reasons and the first may be surprising. It seemed that for some, furlough had given them the first opportunity in their lifetimes to be able to take time to ‘sort out their mental health’ once and for all and to focus on themselves and their needs. "Another reason might be less surprising, and that is one of social isolation or separation from protective factors. On paper, this can look like a young adult struggling with not being able to spend time with their peers or an unhappily married person suddenly having to spend all their time with their spouse. "Prior to the various lockdowns, many of our self-soothing strategies took place outside the home and might have included activities like going to the gym, a meal with a friend at a restaurant or a massage at a salon. The sudden and dramatic curtailment to these external soothing options affected resilience and wellbeing and meant that many of us had steep and rapid learning curves to find COVID-friendly ways to activate our soothing systems. These modern and flexible methods included Zoom coffee dates, YouTube gym classes and live streaming cinema releases from the sofa. In going forward we have realised that maybe we ‘did’ too much before and that we can give ourselves permission to be happy whilst ‘doing less’ in future."
"We are certainly seeing an increase in adults suffering from and complaining of depression and anxiety. Many are complaining of "lockdown anxiety" and finding it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. For some, working from home is a curse as they have become even more isolated and find it's easier to spend hours in bed. The impact of Covid-19 seems to affect all demographics, including children and young people, and those who are classified as vulnerable are even more susceptible. It's important to try and get outside each day. Make contact with friends or colleagues so that you speak to someone each day. Try meditation to relax and calm the mind."
"During the first lockdowns, I used yoga and meditation to manage my own anxiety. After seeing so many friends, colleagues & family struggling with anxiety, we decided to take action to make wellbeing accessible for everyone. With such enormous impacts over the past 18 months, self-care is more important than ever. Even though “lockdown” is over, the effects on our lives and mental health are very much still with us. Taking the time and energy to practice self-care is so important. From yoga, meditation or daily gratitude to taking a bath and lighting a candle you love, self care can be simple and doesn’t need to cost a fortune. The most important investment is your time and energy. Notice what makes you feel good and do it more."
"I’ve seen a huge increase in men suffering from anxiety, especially during the COVID-19 period. Their anxiety has come from worry of catching the virus, or indeed members of their family and friends. But there's also a lot of anxiety over their jobs. For Men To Talk is a chance for men suffering with anxiety, depression and grief to talk with fellow sufferers."