How COVID-19 has impacted the UK's mental health in 2020.
Updated: Mar 29
Many of us have felt whipped around by the pandemic, like a roller coaster.
Since the early days of the pandemic, psychologists have begun to document the impact of the coronavirus on our mental wellbeing, and are running a live systematic review of circa 28,000 studies attempting to track the mental health impact over time*. That’s a huge amount of data!
In order to get a realistic picture of the impact to our mental health, researchers are putting these studies through rigorous testing, and selecting only the studies which meet their stringent methodological criteria. Only 15-20 studies are up to their rigorous methodological standards.
New research by the Mental Health Foundation** and its university partners, have been tracking loneliness, coping, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and feelings of anxiousness about the pandemic over the last 9 months, from March 2020 to November 2020.
The latest figures show that loneliness has risen in November to 25% compared to 10% in March 2020 in the UK.
Those who reported that they are “coping well with the stress of the pandemic” fell steadily, from almost three quarters (73 per cent) in April to 62 per cent in November.
Anxiousness and worry as a result of the pandemic began high and has slowly been decreasing throughout the pandemic, the researchers do not indicate any correlating factors as to why this may be the case.
Interestingly, worry about financial matters has fallen, from 42 per cent of UK adults in March to 28 per cent in November.
What is missing from this data is the baseline measurement of what these figures were before the pandemic, however, altogether this is a concerning picture of the UK’s mental health concerns throughout the pandemic.
Looking after your mental health
It is of course essential to take steps to look after your mental health during this time, as well as reaching out for professional help and support if you are finding yourself struggling.
If you require immediate emotional support, please contact Samaritans helpline on 116 123. For anyone seeking information on help and support in your area, you can find your local NHS mental health helpline number.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the providing of medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Sources and Further Information
* BBC Radio 4 podcast: What's happened to our mental health in 2020; tools to get through the winter - November 2020.
** The Mental Health Foundation: Nine-Month Study Reveals Pandemic’s Worsening Emotional Impacts on UK Adults - 17 December 2020