Today’s Office for National Statistics report adds to our understanding of the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the nation. The results of the survey (conducted in June) indicate a sharp rise in depressive symptoms.
These findings are deeply concerning and echo what we are seeing and hearing from a range of sources. We are especially worried about the groups identified as at greater risk of depression: young and working age adults, disabled people, women and people who have struggled financially. We know, too, that people with other characteristics – for example, people from some black and ethnic minority communities – have faced uniquely challenging circumstances which impact negatively on mental health. And we know from previous economic crises that demand for mental health support is likely to rise over a number of years, particularly among the poorest and most marginalised in society.
Jan Hutchinson, Director of Programmes said: “Protecting the nation’s mental health will be a long haul. Government must ensure that services have the resources to meet this increased demand sustainably and that they are equipped to provide the right support for the people in greatest need.
“To prevent the tide of mental health problems from rising higher, Government must also commit to addressing the determinants of poor mental health. We are calling on the Government to prioritise mental health in its recovery planning, not just for the NHS, but in all policies.”