Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health Forecasting needs and risks in the UK:
This is a new report from the Centre for Mental Health, authored by Dr Graham Durcan, Nick O’Shea and Louis Allwood
You can read the full report here – below is the summary of the main points.
- The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to lead to an increase in mental ill health in the UK, as a result of both the illness itself and the measures being taken to protect people from the virus.
- If the economic impact is similar to that of the post 2008 recession, then we could expect 500,000 additional people experiencing mental health problems, with depression being the most common.
- The economic impact is likely to affect different parts of the country differently and therefore the likely increased prevalence of mental illness will be unevenly distributed.
- If the economic impact results in significant unemployment, there is a major risk of an increase in suicides unless action is taken to prevent this loss of life.
- The various ‘safety net’ initiatives introduced by the Government are likely to be offering some significant protection to people’s wellbeing. How and when these are dismantled are also likely to be critical to the fallout in terms of mental wellbeing following this crisis.
- Some communities will be more adversely affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 and we already know that people from BAME communities are overrepresented in critical care and mortality statistics.
- We can expect that Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed by lockdown will increase the proportion of people experiencing more complicated grief reactions.
- 20% of survivors of intensive care routinely experience PTSD. The increased number of people receiving such critical care during this crisis will increase the number who are at risk of PTSD.
- Health and care workers and other frontline workers are at greater risk of developing mental health problems as a result of Covid-19.
- The mental health impact of Covid-19 will not be experienced equally: people with existing mental health difficulties and risk factors for poor mental health are likely to be affected disproportionately.
- The Government and the NHS can take steps now, to prevent mental health problems where possible and to provide access to effective support where it will be needed.