Cases of depression 'doubled' during coronavirus pandemic as one in five Britons suffered

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read
Embargoed to 0001 Sunday July 26 PICTURE POSED BY MODEL File photo dated 09/03/15 of a woman showing signs of depression. The Scottish Government is being urged to publish data on suicides more regularly, amid fears the coronavirus pandemic could spark a "tidal wave" of mental health problems.
The number of people experiencing depression doubled during lockdown, figures have revealed. (PA)

The number of Britons experiencing depression almost doubled during the coronavirus pandemic with one in five people suffering, figures have revealed.

Data published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 19.2% of people experienced some form of depression in June.

This was almost double the percentage (9.7%) who suffered from depression between July 2019 and March 2020, just as the UK went into lockdown.

The majority (84%) of people experiencing some sort of depression cited stress and anxiety affecting their wellbeing, while 42% said their relationships had been affected.

The ONS research examined data from the same 3,500 British adults both before and during the pandemic.

Statisticians found those most likely to say they had been affected by depression in June were: younger adults (aged 16 to 39); women; those “unable to afford an unexpected expense”, and disabled people.

Researchers also examined the levels of depression – which are classed as mild, moderate or severe depression.

One in eight adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while 6.2% were already experiencing symptoms at this level.

Two people wearing protective masks sit two seats apart on a moving London underground train as the UK continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
A survey has revealed that more Britons have suffered from depression during the coronavirus pandemic. (PA)

Of those experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, 62% said they felt lonely “often or always”, compared with 15% of those with no or mild depressive symptoms.

Just 3.5% saw an improvement during the same timeframe.

Tim Vizard, from the ONS, said: “Today’s research provides an insight into the mental health of adults during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time.

“Nearly one in five adults were experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic, almost doubling from around one in 10 before.

“Adults who are young, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic.”

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