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Mind concerned over huge surge in depression

01 September 2020

MENTAL HEALTH charity Mind has responded to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which have found that rates of depression have doubled during coronavirus pandemic.

The figures show that almost one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in June 2020; this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7%) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).

One in eight adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while a further 6.2% of the population continued to experience this level of depressive symptoms; around 1 in 25 adults (3.5%) saw an improvement over this period. Adults who were aged 16 to 39 years old, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense, or disabled were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic.

Feeling stressed or anxious was the most common way adults experiencing some form of depression felt their well-being was being affected, with 84.9% stating this. Over two in five (42.2%) adults experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic said their relationships were being affected, compared with one in five (20.7%) adults with no or mild depressive symptoms.

Speaking after the release of the new satirists, Mind director of external relations Sophie Corlett said: "It’s worrying to see an increase in the number of people experiencing depression. We cannot underestimate the impact that the pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health – whether that’s bereavement, the devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown, or the recession we are now in. We know people already struggling with their mental health or with related issues like problems with employment, housing, benefits and debt have been hardest hit by coronavirus, but today’s figures also show how the pandemic has affected people who were previously well and are now experiencing depressive symptoms for the first time. As more and more people ask for support for their mental health, well-resourced timely treatment must be available for anyone who needs it.

"Now many emergency measures introduced by Government - such as furlough, emergency housing, and better Statutory Sick Pay – have stopped or are winding down, we’re concerned even more people will fall through the gaps. Mind announced five key tests for UK Government including continuing to invest in community services; protecting those most at risk and addressing inequalities faced by people from Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic communities, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic; reforming the Mental Health Act; providing a financial safety net through the benefits system; and supporting children and young people. It’s crucial that mental health and wellbeing are put at the centre of the UK Government’s ongoing recovery plans, so that we can rebuild as a kinder and fairer society for everyone."