The speed at which our lives and the world around us has changed this year has been hard to comprehend – and it has taken its toll on our mental health.
In fact, the long-term psychological impacts of this global pandemic is something that is increasingly concerning for experts.
And it looks like they are right to be worried. A new study has found that there was a three-fold increase in the number of people reporting clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression during lockdown.
The research, conducted by Austrian, British and Belgian scientists, revealed that during lockdown in April, the number of people reporting depression and anxiety problems reached 52% – three times more than the pre-Covid-19 average of 17%.
‘This study is a detailed investigation of mental health and wellbeing indicators in a representative sample of the UK population during the height of lockdown restrictions,’ says Michael Barkham, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield.
Visit our live blog for the latest updates Coronavirus news live
‘The three-fold increase we found in the prevalence of depression and anxiety problems in the adult population during lockdown is evidence that Covid-19 is associated with a mental health crisis.’
Socioeconomic factors also had an impact, and the results found that poorer areas of the UK reported more severe levels of depression.
The mental health impacts of the pandemic were also found to be especially pronounced in younger people, women and those who were unemployed or on low income.
Dr Jaime Delgadillo, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield said: ‘We are drawing attention to an urgent problem concerning the mental health of the nation.
‘Historically, mental health care has been underfunded. Mental health problems are very serious health conditions that can become highly disabling if left untreated.
‘This evidence calls for policy makers and health services to look after the mental health of the population during this challenging time.’
‘As Covid-19 is a new disease, and the worldwide lockdown measures are unprecedented for our generation, relatively little is known about the mental health impacts of the current pandemic,’ adds Dr Christoph Pieh, chief investigator based at Donau-Universität Krems in Austria.
‘We conducted this study to examine several indicators of psychological wellbeing and mental health.’
Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.
Get in touch: [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article