Women and young people hit hardest by lockdown

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.