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30 June 2020

Lockdown has led to “deterioration” in UK mental health, warns Mind

Not being able to see friends and family and financial anxieties have led to a massive decline in wellbeing, according to a survey.

By Rohan Banerjee

The UK’s lockdown measures against the coronavirus pandemic have had a devastating effect on the nation’s mental health, according to a survey carried out by the charity Mind.

Not being able to see friends and family members regularly, as well as increased anxiety around finances, job security and the virus itself, Mind found, had contributed to a “deterioration” in people’s wellbeing. Mind has warned that there could be an “even bigger crisis coming later on” unless government takes urgent action to address “stressor” factors, including housing policy and the future of the furlough scheme.

Mind’s survey, which collated responses from over 16,000 members of the public, found that 65 per cent of adults with pre-existing mental health issues had seen their conditions worsen since March.

The survey also suggested that disruption to mental health services caused by Covid-19 – while some were able to move their treatments online, many others were not – had contributed to poorer mental health. Mind’s research pointed out that there were disparities in people’s access to the internet; indeed, some 25 per cent of respondents said that they had tried to access NHS services, but had been unable to get support.

Off the back of its findings, Mind has made several recommendations to the UK government, including reforming the Mental Health Act and further investment in the benefits system.

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Megan Pennell, the charity’s parliamentary and campaigns manager said: “What we really want to emphasise is that as well as this being a physical health crisis, it is just as much a mental health emergency.” She added: “If we don’t invest now, we will have a much bigger challenge on our hands.”