One in three young women suffered depression over the summer

·2-min read
Depressed young woman - Kiyoshi Hijiki/Moment RF
Depressed young woman - Kiyoshi Hijiki/Moment RF

A third of young women experienced depression over the summer, figures suggest.

Some 32 per cent of women aged 16-29 and a fifth of men of the same age reported symptoms of depression between July 21 and August 15, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

At the height of the pandemic, the proportion of all women suffering from depression was 23.3 per cent, almost double the level before March 2020 (12 per cent).

By the summer 2021, levels of depression among older women had decreased, taking the overall rate to 20 per cent, but the levels among young women have remained high with around one in three experiencing symptoms.

The ONS was unable to provide a comparison of young women pre-pandemic, but said 11 per cent of all 16-39-year-olds experienced these symptoms prior to March 2020.

Overall, 17 per cent of adults experienced some form of depression - a fall since early 2021, but still above pre-pandemic levels.

As well as young adults, people who were disabled, clinically extremely vulnerable, unemployed or unable to afford an unexpected expense were more likely to experience depression.

'Levels are above where they were pre-pandemic'

Tim Vizard, head of the ONS policy evidence and analysis team, said: “[The] data show that while there has been a fall in the proportion of adults experiencing some form of depression, levels are still above where they were pre-pandemic.

“Younger adults, women and disabled people are more likely to experience some form of depression, along with the unemployed and those unable to afford an unexpected expense.”

The analysis is based on pooled data covering 13,774 adults who were surveyed during the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

The ONS said depression peaked during the early 2021 national lockdown at 21 per cent, before falling to 17 per cent from the end of March, with levels remaining stable since.

Prior to the pandemic, one in 10 adults had depression.

The disabled and unemployed experienced higher rates of depression

Disabled adults were more than four times as likely to experience depression over summer 2021 than non-disabled adults (36 per cent versus eight per cent).

Unemployed adults were twice as likely to experience depression as someone who was employed or self-employed (31 per cent versus 15 per cent).

The same was the case for adults living in the most deprived parts of England, with 24 per cent experiencing depression compared with 12 per cent of adults in the least deprived areas.

Of adults experiencing some form of depression, almost three quarters (74 per cent) reported that the coronavirus pandemic was affecting their wellbeing.

Separate figures released this week by NHS Digital also showed one in six children aged between six and 19 were found to be suffering from a probable mental disorder.

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