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Philippa Roxby 1 : Depression rise at Christmas linked to stress over Covid

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Feelings of depression and anxiety rose sharply around Christmas, especially among young people, according to a survey conducted by University College London (UCL).

Despite fewer restrictions than last Christmas, many still said they were concerned about high levels of Covid-19 and the risk to friends and family.

Happiness and life satisfaction also plummeted for people of all ages.

The pandemic continues to affect people’s mental health in many ways, the researchers said.

People’s confidence in their government’s handling of the covid pandemic also dipped over Christmas in England and Wales, to the lowest point on record (in Autumn 2020), but remained stable in Scotland.

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And normal Christmases were abandoned as most people changed their travel plans, avoided large gatherings, or stayed home longer than expected.

The results are based on a survey of 31,000 people in the first week of January. It is part of the Covid-19 Social Study, which has regularly interviewed people since the start of the pandemic.

Depression rise

He found:

three in four people are worried about NHS treatment being canceled or postponed for non-Covid issues in the next three months.

two-thirds of people have major concerns about overwhelmed hospitals
half feel the prolonged development of Covid is a major concern
58% are concerned that family or friends will get Covid-19
only four in 10 people say they fully understand the Covid rules in place right now
Despite vaccines protecting the vast majority of the UK population from becoming seriously ill with covid and no lockdown measures were in place over Christmas, levels of anxiety and depression were “on par with the UK population”. period last year,” said Dr Daisy Fancourt, lead author of the UCL Institute for Epidemiology and Health Care.

“Our findings suggest that it is not only the presence of social restrictions that affects mental health, but also concerns and stressors related to high levels of the varius and high risk of infection.

She added: “The decline in trust in the government to handle the pandemic likely contributed to the stress that many people faced during this period. ”

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Dr Fancourt said that from a psychological point of view it was recommended to keep covid levels as low as possible.

Brian Dow of the Rethink Mental Illness charity said the pandemic was likely to affect people’s mental health “for some time”.

He said: “It is tempting to assume that easing restrictions will automatically lead to an improvement in people’s well-being, but recovery is rarely linear: the nation’s mental health must be a long-term government priority.”

 

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