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Depression rates doubled amid COVID-19

The number of people with depression has doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to new figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported there were 9.7% of adults with depression between July and March last year.

That figure rose to 19.2% during the same period this year, which was when the COVID-19 lockdown began.

The data has also suggested that mental health issues impacted young women more during the coronavirus-controlling lockdown.

As well as depression rates, the researchers also looked at the different stages of mental health, classifying the symptoms as mild, moderate or severe.

They found that one in eight adults developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while the others were already affected.

Forty-two per cent (42%) of people said their mental health issues had affected their relationships while, 84% reported stress and anxiety had impacted their wellbeing.

The data was collected by asking participants to complete a questionnaire which encouraged them to rate any depressive symptoms they may be experiencing. The questions were given at two different times over the course of a 12-month period, before the COVID-19 pandemic and during.

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.”

Speaking to the MailOnline Professor Dame Til Wykes, clinical psychology and rehabilitation at the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London (IoPPN) said the results indicate that the country might have a “mental health crisis after this pandemic”.

She added: “The social effects of distancing and isolation for some affects their emotional wellbeing. We can all understand that dealing with tough circumstances like financial stress and unemployment, as well as the fear produced by having an underlying health condition, are likely to put pressure on all our coping mechanisms.

“We don’t know when this pandemic will be over but the news about employment seems likely to put further strain on an already stressed population. The figures for depression are then likely to be much worse.”

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