One in nine adults consistently had very poor or deteriorating mental health during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic according to new research.
The University of Manchester in collaboration King’s College London, Cambridge, Swansea and City University found that those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods along with ethnic minorities were the most affected.
The study ran between April and October 2020, and revealed five distinct groups.
12% of the sample suffered initial declines in their mental health at the beginning of the pandemic then later recovered over the summer when restrictions began to ease.
Women and parents of school children were most likely to be in this group, experiencing significant improvements upon the reopening of schools’.
4% of the sample reported consistent very poor standards of mental health throughout the pandemic and 7% seeing a sustained decline.
These groups were more likely to have had pre-existing mental or physical conditions and were also more likely to be Asian, Black or mixed ethnicities.
Professor Kathryn Abel from The University of Manchester said:
“We are increasingly aware that social and economic advantages have an important influence on how well people are able to cope with challenges that appear to have affected everyone equally…
For people in ethnic minorities, their experience of the pandemic has meant dealing with both existing discrimination and inequalities alongside higher risks of severe illness, disability and, of course, death.”
However, a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that two thirds of adults were in groups whose mental health was largely unaffected by Covid-19.
In response to this Dr Matthias Pierce, lead author and research fellow from the Centre for Women’s Mental Health at The University of Manchester stated:
“The data we used are superior to other surveys because the UK Household Longitudinal Study uses a high quality representative random sample and includes groups such as the digitally excluded who might not otherwise participate.”
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Mental health awareness week begins Monday 10th May you can read more about it here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week