Nationwide mental wellbeing remains at its lowest since first lockdown

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Life satisfaction and happiness scores remain at some of the lowest levels recorded since the beginning of the first nationwide lockdown, new figures reveal.

Published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the latest February 2021 update of the country's mental wellbeing reveal the ongoing psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ONS began surveying individuals with regards to their mental wellbeing in March 2020, when the first national lockdown came into force.

The survey includes general wellbeing questions such as 'Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?', for which respondents are required to answer on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being 'not at all' and 10 being 'completely').

According to the latest round of surveys, scores for life satisfaction, feelings of life being worthwhile, and happiness levels remain at their lowest.

In addition, feelings of anxiousness among respondents continue a gradual upward trend since June of last year.

The ONS says that wellbeing scores can be an indication of mental health, which it has so far demonstrated through other surveys.

In June last year, results from its Coronavirus and depression in adults survey showed that rates of depression had doubled since pre-pandemic levels.

The same analysis was revisited in December, revealing little to no improvement in depression levels.

For high risk individuals, the effect of the pandemic was shown to be particularly pronounced in another ONS survey, with just over one third of clinically-vulnerable people saying their mental health and wellbeing had worsened during the pandemic.

Of these, one fifth reported their mental health as becoming much worse.

Read more: 'Worryingly high' rates of anxiety and depression in new mothers during first lockdown

The latest ONS figures add to ongoing concerns over an emerging 'mental health crisis' caused by the pandemic.

A detrimental impact on the mental health of intensive care nurses, students, workers, and new mothers has been uncovered, with a lack of face-to-face support resulting in all-time high prescription levels for mental health medication.

To read the full ONS report, click here.

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