Women and young families disproportionately affected by Covid-19 mental health crisis, study reveals
Women, young adults and parents of young children have been worst affected by the Covid-19 mental health crisis, a major report has revealed.
The research, published by the University of Manchester, is among the first to highlight the degrees of crisis among varying UK demographics. It is also the largest, surveying more than 17,000 people.
According to the study, almost a third of people living in the UK in April reported “clinically significant levels of psychological distress”, compared to around two in five prior to the pandemic.
This rises to 33 per cent among women, 32 per cent among parents with young children, and 37 per cent among young people, immediately pointing to poorer mental health outcomes for those on low incomes or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Contrastingly, the study did not find a “significant deterioration” in mental health in men and the over-45s, although the tendency among men not to report mental illness could explain this finding.
Commenting on the research, lead author Dr Matthias Pierce said: “This pandemic appears to be having a very detrimental effect on young people, and young women in particular.
“This group had already been experiencing worsening mental health in the years prior to lockdown and this is being exacerbated by the pandemic.”
He added: “We estimate as many as 44 per cent of young women are experiencing clinically significant levels of mental distress compared with 32 per cent before the pandemic.”
The latest figures suggest that around one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, with the most common illnesses being anxiety and depression.