The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will leave a deep and lasting scar on the mental health of millions in this country. The devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown and loneliness, and the inevitable recession that lies ahead will affect all of us.
New mental health problems have developed as a result of the pandemic and existing mental health problems have gotten worse. To understand how they can best support people during this uncertain time, Mind carried out research to understand the experiences of people with pre-existing mental health problems, the challenges that they are facing, the coping strategies that they are using, and the support they would like to receive.
The report identified five essential learnings:
- More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse during the period of lockdown restrictions, from early April to mid-May.
- Restrictions on seeing people, being able to go outside and worries about the health of family and friends are the key factors driving poor mental health. Boredom is also a major problem for young people.
- Loneliness has been a key contributor to poor mental health. Feelings of loneliness have made nearly two thirds of people’s mental health worse during the past month, with 18–24 year olds the most likely to see loneliness affect their mental health.
- Many people do not feel entitled to seek help, and have difficulty accessing it when they do. 1 in 3 adults and more than 1 in 4 young people did not access support during lockdown because they did not think that they deserved support.
- A quarter of adults and young people who tried to access support were unable to do so. Not feeling comfortable using phone/video call technology has been one of the main barriers to accessing support.