Rates of depression for Britain’s adults have more than doubled compared to pre-Covid levels, with over one in five adults experiencing some form of depression.
The pandemic has certainly affected the public’s mental health, with many feeling symptoms of stress, anxiety, boredom and loneliness.
Rates of depressive symptoms have more than doubled for adults aged 16 to 39 years old, to 29%.
Younger adults and people living with children under 16 saw the largest increases in rates of depressive feelings.
More than one million children a year will be given mental health help at school. 16% of 5-16-year-olds have “probable” mental health disorders compared with 10.9% in 2017, according to NHS England. The head of the NHS has said that it is to expand its service to help young people cope with the serious disruption caused by the pandemic.
Claire Murdoch, Mental Health Director for NHS England, said: “Children have had their normal routines turned upside down during the pandemic, whether it be curbs on their social life, school or their hobbies, and so it is only right that the NHS accelerates its mental health support for young people.
“As children have returned to the classroom, dedicated NHS mental health support teams will be in place at 3,000 schools across the country ready to listen to any anxieties they may have, and I would urge everyone – whether you’re a teacher, parent or child – to access this help before any issues escalate.”
In addition, people are less likely to get help. Whilst charities have reported more people seeking mental health support, fewer people are going to see their doctor. The NHS Talking Therapies service normally receives 150,000 referrals for treatment of common mental problems like depression and anxiety. However, this had significantly dropped as low as 60,000 by April 2020.
Many mental health services have quickly transitioned to remote therapy, however, ensuring that people are able to receive treatment. In addition, 95% of people are receiving treatment within 18 weeks.
The suicide rate has not risen, according to University of Manchester scientists who found similar rates from April to October 2020 to those seen by January and March.