UK’s Covid depression surge as scientists find it jumped from 4% to 32% in lockdown
A scientific review published by researchers at Bath University on the two year anniversary of the start of the first Covid lockdown suggests prevalence of depression jumped from 4% of Britain’s population to 32%
A third of the UK population suffered with depression during the first lockdown two years ago, research shows.
A scientific review suggests prevalence of depression jumped from 4% of the population to 32% during the lockdown which began on March 23, 2020.
Diagnosed cases of anxiety, which pre-pandemic were around 5%, increased to 31%, according to the review of 14 studies involving 46,158 participants.
Researchers at Bath University published the findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychology on the two year anniversary of the start of the first lockdown.
It came as Britain today marked the National Day of Reflection with a minute’s silence at midday.
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Britain’s Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said Brits must learn to ‘roll with it rather than expect there is some end point’ to Covid ( Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
More than 350 organisations supported the day with landmarks lit up in yellow including the Gherkin in the City of London, the Senedd in Cardiff, Glasgow Central Station and Belfast City Hall.
People also shone lights or displayed flowers in their window at 8pm as part of a series of events organised by the end-of-life charity Marie Curie.
Dr Gemma Taylor, of Bath University, said: “We all know the dramatic toll lockdown had on our lives, and two years on it’s a moment to pause and reflect on what some of the long-standing effects this period has had our mental health.
“Our study shows a sharp rise in depression and anxiety as a result of lockdown. These are challenges which cannot be undone overnight.
“Tackling them will require significantly greater resources to ensure those who need it can access psychological support.
“Psychological support is not cheap, and services have notoriously been underfunded.
“Whilst there is good news for people’s mental health in regard to vaccination rates and the return to some degree of normality in the UK, we need to be mindful of these possible lasting mental health effects that lockdown had on many of us.”
Services were held at churches and cathedrals across the country, with ‘walls of reflection’ and remembrance created where people brought photos, prayers and memories to honour those who had died.
Sir Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said: “The pandemic is going to become steadily less dominant over time, but we’re going to have a significant problem with it in multiple parts of the world, in all parts of the world in fact, for the rest of our lives. So, let’s have no illusions about that.
“I’m expecting it to probably be seasonal in the UK but interspersed – for the next two or three years – by new variants whilst it’s still evolving to adapt to humans, which may occur in between seasonal peaks.
“So, I think we should just accept that is what we’re going to deal with and just roll with it rather than expect there is some end point.”