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Study suggests women and young people have been hardest hit psychologically by coronavirus lockdown

A new study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, has looked at the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on population mental health.

  • It found that there was an overall increase in mental distress in people aged 16 years and older in the UK.
  • This did not affect all groups equally, with some subgroups showing marked increases. Factors most strongly linked with mental health deterioration were those associated with pre-existing health inequalities, such as gender and age.
  • Other factors were unique to the circumstances, such as being a keyworker.
  • The study found that being young, a woman, and living with children had a particularly strong influence on the extent to which mental distress increased.
  • Additionally, the increase in mental distress relative to previous trends was greater among those who were employed before the pandemic. This is likely due to a loss in income, furlough or a shift to homeworking.
  • The authors suggested that it is reasonable to expect the emergence of long-term effects of economic recession on mental health, such as increasing suicide rates and hospital admissions for mental health.
  • The study suggests that these problems are not necessarily new, but instead could result in pre-existing mental health inequalities becoming more entrenched.


invitation posterAn invitation to participate in research: We want to know your experiences of living with pain in London

Recent findings have shown that chronic pain affects up to 50% of the UK population [1]. Of this, Black adults have been found to have higher levels of “high-impact” pain in comparison to their White counterparts [2]. This disparity in the incidence of pain is also reflected in the contributory factors to pain. Researchers [1] have found many factors that are associated with the development of chronic pain including comorbidity, mental health and employment status – factors that are more prevalent in ethnic minorities [3] [4]. Does this suggest higher incidence of chronic pain in minority populations?

This is an invitation to participate in research:

  • You are invited for a discussion with a Specialist Pain Physiotherapist & Lecturer at Brunel University to tell us about your experience.
  • Help us by telling us about your pain experience so we can improve experiences and facilities for people with pain.

As we know, chronic pain is a complex phenomenon. It has been defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain [5] as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage”. However, we know that pain is influenced by a range of factors such as emotions, relationships, and cultural beliefs [6]. Our beliefs and experiences play a significant role in pain and the under representation of ethnic minorities in research [7] means that we don’t know much about the experiences of minority groups with persistent pain. This may lead to patients being seen as “complex” or being dismissed.

To make sure the voices of minority groups are heard, the @PainInCommunity team aims to explore the experiences of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community dwellers with persistent pain in London. The lead researcher, Dr. Dana Maki from Brunel University London, hopes to interview between fifteen and twenty participants who live within London and suffer with persistent pain in any muscles, joints, or limbs.

By listening to you, the team hopes to find out more about your experiences with persistent pain, how you manage it, and what may stand in the way of you seeking help from healthcare professionals. Covid-19 also presents the team with the unique opportunity to explore how social distancing may have impacted your pain management. Learning more about your experiences will ensure clinicians are able to provide culturally sensitive care to improve treatment outcomes [7].

This research follows a previous study which explored the experiences of physiotherapists working with chronic pain patients from minority ethnic backgrounds. The preliminary findings suggested a range of barriers to providing the best possible care for these patients. Some of these included communication barriers and a lack of understanding of family traditions and religious beliefs. They also expressed cultural differences potentially impacting on the adherence and attendance of their patients, however, were unable to suggest potential reasoning behind this. Combining what the team learns from both studies will allow a deeper understanding of the bigger picture of chronic pain in these under-represented groups.

Who can take part?

  • If you suffer with muscular or skeletal pain in any of your limbs or joints.
  • You consider yourself to be from a culturally diverse descent such as Black, Asian, or other ethnic minorities.
  • You live in one of the 32 boroughs of Greater London.
  • You are conversational in English.

What do I have to do?

  • You will be screened for eligibility, this includes questions about your condition.
  • Your socio-demographic data will be collected.
  • You will then be invited for a virtual in-depth one-to-one interview with the researcher at a convenient date and time for you.
  • This study has been reviewed and approved by the College of Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee, at Brunel University London.
  • The study is funded by the Public Engagement Fund at Brunel University. You will be compensated with a £10 shopping voucher to reimburse you for your time and any costs incurred.

If you would like to know more about this project, or are interested to take part, please contact:

Email: Dr Dana Maki (Chief Investigator),

Email: Miss Preet Singh (Research Assistant),

You may be interested in reading the Participant information sheet [WORD doc]

Other ways to contact the team

Find us on Facebook

Instagram @PainInCommunity

Twitter @PreeetSingh_


[1] Mills, S. E. E., Nicolson, K. P., & Smith, B. H. (2019). Chronic pain: a review of its epidemiology and associated factors in population-based studies. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 123(2), e273–e283.

[2] Janevic, M. R., McLaughlin, S. J., Heapy, A. A., Thacker, C., & Piette, J. D. (2017). Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Disabling Chronic Pain: Findings From the Health and Retirement Study. The Journal of Pain, 18(12), 1459–1467.

[3] Mental Health Foundation. 2019. Black, Asian And Minority Ethnic (BAME) Communities. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 18 June 2020].

[4] 2019. Unemployment. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 18 June 2020].

[5] Part III: Pain Terms, A Current List with Definitions and Notes on Usage” (pp 209-214) Classification of Chronic Pain, Second Edition, IASP Task Force on Taxonomy, edited by H. Merskey and N. Bogduk, IASP Press, Seattle, ©1994

[6] Gatchel, Robert J., Peng, Yuan Bo, Peters, Madelon, L.; Fuchs, Perry, N.; Turk, Dennis C. 2007 The biopsychosocial approach to chronic pain: Scientific advances and future directions fckLR Psychological Bulletin, Vol 133(4), 581-624

[7] Campbell, C. M., & Edwards, R. R. (2012). Ethnic differences in pain and pain management. Pain Management, 2(3), 219–230.

NASS would like to bring your attention to an important new clinical survey on the impact that COVID-19 is having on axial SpA (AS) services and care.

The survey has been developed to help inform the work of a new inquiry that is being carried out by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Axial Spondyloarthritis. Findings from the survey will support the APPG, the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) and other stakeholders in the area to identify key recommendations that can be put forward to help safeguard the provision of axial SpA (AS) care and ensure that patients are able to receive the best care possible in the months ahead.

Survey respondents are encouraged to provide their best estimates to the questions, based on their current local situation.

The survey should take around 10 minute to complete and all feedback is hugely appreciated.

The British Psoriatic Arthritis Consortium is working with the James Lind Alliance to run a priority setting partnership (PSP). The aim is to create a national top-10 list of research priorities for psoriatic arthritis. They want ideas and thoughts from people with different experiences and backgrounds: those with psoriatic arthritis, their families, carers and clinicians.

This is your chance to make sure research addresses questions about psoriatic arthritis that are important to you. The survey results will be used to help prioritise funding for research in the future.

Access the survey online here.

Reumavid is a questionnaire investigating the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic on people living with rheumatic conditions in United Kingdom.

The survey is aimed at people living with rheumatic diseases who are experiencing confinement due to COVID-19.

Its aim is to describe the consequences of the pandemic on the evolution of the disease, support services, healthcare, the quality of life and the emotional well-being of people living with rheumatic diseases.

This study is promoted by National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS), National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), and Arthritis Action, and conducted by the Health & Territory Research (HTR) of the University of Seville, with the support of Novartis Pharma AG.

Visit the survey page for full details and to take part.

Pain UK would like to alert you to the work of the Covid-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance, an organisation established to “collect, analyze and disseminate information about COVID-19 and rheumatology to patients, physicians and other relevant groups to improve the care of patients with rheumatic disease.”

Rheumatology patients are invited to complete a patient survey, whether or not they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. A worldwide consortium of doctors, scientists and patient groups are seeking your views on the current situation. Tell them how it is for you via this link.

Research funding awarded by Nuffield Foundation’s Oliver Bird Fund

The Nuffield Foundation has awarded £4 million to six teams across five UK Universities for research to improve the lives of people living with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions by influencing policy and practice. Two of the awards, made in partnership with Versus Arthritis, will develop innovative ways to join up MSK data across an area to improve care and service provision. The remaining projects look at different aspects of the causes, consequences, and experiences of living with MSK.

Details of all six projects are available from the Nuffield Foundation website.

The first report of the new continuous National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF) provides a detailed look into the care and management of patients who sustain a hip fracture as the result of a fall while they are in hospital.

Falls are the most frequently reported incident affecting hospital inpatients, with 247,000 falls occurring in inpatient settings each year in England alone (NHS Improvement). The data collected by NAIF and presented in this report provide ample opportunity to identify areas in which to enhance the quality of care for people who sustain an inpatient hip fracture. 

Participation in NAIF is mandatory for all English trusts/Welsh health boards (specialist/community/acute/mental health) with inpatient beds for patients aged 65 and over. If your organisation is eligible to take part but is not yet registered, please contact

Julia Ellis, chair of the FFFAP Patient and Carer Panel said:

“I urge you to use this report to improve what you do to prevent falls and treat injuries when they occur. My hope is that anyone in a similar situation to me can feel confident that their loved one will be safe when they are in hospital.”

Key recommendations

This report provides an excellent opportunity for organisations to examine in detail where they can improve; not only to prevent falls, but also to improve the care of those who sustain injury and to ensure no delays to expert hip fracture care. 12 evidence-based recommendations are given in each of the following areas:

  • Audit participation
  • Policies and procedures
  • Leadership
  • Quality and safety assurance 
  • Care after an inpatient fall 

Julie Windsor, clinical patient safety lead, medical specialties and Older People, NHS England and NHS Improvement said:

“Not getting things right for this most vulnerable group of patients is a window into how well we manage all patients at risk of falls. If we can get it right for them, then getting it right for all patients at risk of falls will be easier.”