COVID-19 Analysis: Behaviours & Mental Health of The Extremely Vulnerable

This is a new analysis, from the Government, of clinically extremely vulnerable people (the shielding population) in England during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including their behaviours and mental and physical well-being.

1.Main points

  • Of the 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people, 63% reported completely following shielding guidance.
  • The government, as well as communities, have provided support to enable CEV people to shield; the support mechanism that most people who had not left their home since receiving shielding guidance or in the last seven days found helpful was video or telephone calls with family and friends (74%), followed by prescription deliveries (59%) and food deliveries or food boxes (56%).
  • CEV people who are currently or have previously received treatment for their mental health were more likely to report a worsening in their mental health since being advised to shield (68% and 56% respectively).
  • CEV females were more likely to report a worsening in their mental health than CEV males, irrespective of age group.

Statistician’s comment

“We see a continued trend in clinically extremely vulnerable people following the government guidelines, as the proportion of people who report completely following the shielding guidance remains just over 60%. Their main support has come from video or phone calls with family and friends, the ease of prescription deliveries, and food deliveries or food boxes.

“Overall the data paints a reassuring picture, showing us that despite the extra guidance in place for the clinically extremely vulnerable, over half (60%) of the shielding population report no change in their mental health since being advised to shield.

However, we recognise that the coronavirus pandemic and shielding has had an impact on the mental health of some of the shielding population.”

Tim Gibbs, Public Services Analysis Team, Office for National Statistics.