Covid

Pandemic has had negative impact on mental health: poll | Opinion polls

More than four in ten people say the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, according to the Observer’s most recent Opinium survey.

In the survey, 43% said their mental health had deteriorated in the past year, while more than a third (35%) said their physical health had deteriorated.

The shocking data confirms warnings from experts who have predicted that Covid-19 and the resulting restrictions on exercise and activity, as well as job losses and layoffs, would trigger a mental health crisis.

Last December, Dr. Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said Britain was facing “the biggest blow to mental health since World War II” with lasting effects.

“It doesn’t stop when the virus is under control and few people are in the hospital. You have to fund the long-term consequences, ”he said.

By the end of last year, an estimated 10 million people, including 1.5 million children, were in need of new or additional mental health support as a direct result of the crisis.

Given the mounting financial pressures on many individuals and households, 30% of respondents told Opinium that their personal finances were in worse shape as a result of the pandemic, with those on the lowest incomes being hardest hit.

A third (33%) of those on low incomes (under £ 20,000) said the pandemic had had a negative impact on their personal finances. Only 15% in this group said their finances were in better shape.

With median earnings between £ 20,000 and £ 40,000, 24% said the effect was positive, 26% negative and 29% insignificant.

For those earning more than £ 40,000, 27% said the effect was negative, while 27% said it was positive and 42% said it had no significant effects.

With the upcoming March 3 budget, 44% of respondents believe that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s top priority should be to promote economic growth and recovery, while 37% cite jobs and 34% cite investment in public services.

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Robert Dunfee