The UK Office for National Statistics published a report on Coronavirus and Depression in Adults. They found that the coronavirus pandemic had a bigger impact on deprived areas of England and affected more to adults at risk.
The National Statistics' report found that 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.
Likewise, around 3 in 10 (29%) adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 experienced some form of depression, compared with around 1 in 10 (11%) adults who were able to afford this expense.
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 other mental health experts. Here are their views:
Lee Chambers, a psychologist at Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing: "Covid has highlighted the health inequalities we have in this country and how 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. 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."
James Watson-O'Neill, Chief Executive at SignHealth: "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. 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."
Dr Shungu Hilda M'gadzah, lead consultant psychologist at Inclusion Psychologists: "We are certainly seeing an increase in adults suffering from and complaining of depression and anxiety. 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."
Nicole Woodcock, Clinical Hypnotherapist at Hummingbird Hypnotherapy: "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. 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."
Luke Newman, director at For Men To Talk: "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 about their family and friends getting it. 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."
Helen Millington, director at Meliora Wellness: "Even though lockdown is over, the effects on our lives and mental health are still very much 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."
Dr Jackie Mulligan, an expert on the High Streets Task Force and founder of ShopAppy.com: "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."
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