There is no doubt coronavirus has had disastrous implications for sufferers’ physical health since it was first detected at the beginning of the year. However, it is not just affecting those who have had the potentially fatal virus, but the wider public as well.
The government’s precautionary measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 meant a nationwide lockdown, with schools, businesses, and offices all over the country closing their doors over the last three months.
While some services are beginning to resume, the loss of freedom for millions of people and enforced isolation has taken a toll on their mental health, with 75 per cent of those aged between 13 and 24 years old with existing emotional problems reporting a worsening of their condition since lockdown.
Mental health charity Mind also revealed 65 per cent of adults over 25 have found their emotional wellbeing deteriorate during this time, while 22 per cent of Brits with no previous experience of mental health problems admitted their emotional state is currently poor or very poor.
Chief executive of Mind Paul Farmer said: “The coronavirus pandemic is as much a mental health emergency as it is a physical one.”
While tens of thousands of people in the UK alone have died of the illness, lockdown implications, as well as the fear of an impending recession “will leave a deep and lasting scar on our nation’s mental health”.
Mr Farmer added: “Those of us who were already struggling with our mental health have fared worst, but we also know that many people who were previously well will now develop mental health problems, as a direct consequence of the pandemic.”
The survey of 16,000 adults also found those living in social housing and who were unemployed during the pandemic achieved lower mental health scores.
More than half of those living in social housing claimed their mental health was poor or very poor, with 67 per cent admitting their wellbeing has worsened during lockdown.
Additionally, 73 per cent of those who have been furloughed, changed roles or lost their job during coronavirus reported lower than average wellbeing scores. In comparison, this figure was 66 per cent among those whose employment status did not change as a result of the pandemic.
As a result of Brits’ mental health worsening due to the crisis, Mind has called on the government to prioritise services in the future.
“This is can only be achieved by putting mental health at the very centre of the UK government’s recovery plans,” Mr Farmer concluded.
This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced mental health dormitories will be abolished following the end of the pandemic.
As part of the government’s ‘New Deal’, £1.5 billion will be invested in hospital maintenance, getting rid of these archaic dormitories, and improving hospital building and patient capacity.
This move that has been supported by Geoff Heyes, head of health policy and influencing at Mind.
He noted that “many mental health facilities are well below standard”, adding: “Some are actively unsafe, making it possible for people to take their own lives.”
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