• Kevin Murphy

Are we facing a mental health pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children and adults where mental health is concerned in particular depression.

Across Britain the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found in its research that one in five adults saying that they have suffered from some form of depression during the pandemic which is double the rate before the pandemic began.

Restrictions on health service use kept people from seeking the attention needed for their medical health with the report finding that the number of GP diagnosed cases for adult depression has fallen at the start of the pandemic.

The ONS report says:

"This is in line with other non-COVID-19 related conditions, which may be due to some people being reluctant to consult GPs during this time, or due to changes in the ways GP appointments were being managed during this period."

"There has been a 30% decrease in all diagnoses by GPs in England during late March to the end of August 2020, with the number of depression diagnoses falling from 1,131,804 in 2019 to 863,578 (a 24% decrease). The decrease was higher among men than women and the largest fall in depression diagnoses was among those aged 45 to 54 years."

Cases of adult depression accounts for a larger percentage of overall diagnoses by GPs than pre-pandemic with depression in adults increasing by 1.3% points to 15.6%.

The diagnosis of adult depression declined in all ethnic groups with White ethnic group decline of almost 24% less and the Indian ethnic community having the lowest sat 13.8%. Chinese ethnic group had the highest rate of increase with depression as a percentage of all diagnoses at 4%.

This data showed the incidence of diagnosed depression for 2020 but what about 2021?

The ONS report finds"

"New analysis from 25,000 adults talking part in our Opinions and Lifestyle Survey during the first few months of 2021 suggests that it may indeed be the case. In June 2020, around 19% of adults reported experiencing some form of depression, a similar proportion seen later that year in November. But by the lockdown of early 2021, this has risen to 21%. The reasons for this increase are likely to be complex, with the e"ects of being asked to stay at home during lockdown, high levels of anxiety due to the coronavirus along with the seasonal bad weather and shorter daylight hours playing a part."

"Levels were high in younger adults, a group we know has been impacted by economic factors during the pandemic. Young women had particularly high rates, with over four in ten (43%) experiencing some form of depression in the first part of 2021. Symptoms of depression during the pandemic have been more likely to affect some sections of society more, including clinically extremely vulnerable, disabled adults on lower incomes."

For more about this ONS report:

5 views0 comments