According to a new study, the decline in people’s mental health associated with COVID-19 shows no signs of rebounding to pre-pandemic levels.
The UK Household Longitudinal Study was utilized by researchers from the University of Exeter Business School and the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow to compare the mental health of over 10,000 people in the UK.
They discovered that, on average, mental anguish was 11 percent higher during the epidemic’s peak in April 2020 than it was before the pandemic in 2017-19.
However, the researchers discovered no evidence of any improvement in the population’s mental health in March 2021, as the vaccination was being rolled out and restrictions were beginning to be lifted. In March 2021, the average level of mental distress was about the same as in April 2020.
The 12-point General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), a screening tool for diagnosing mild psychiatric illnesses, was used to assess mental anguish. Between 2017 and 2019, respondents completed the GHQ-12 three times: once in April 2020, once in April 2020, and once in March 2021.
“Our analysis indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has damaged the mental health of people across society, and that these negative implications continue to be felt—even when we are told the worst is over,” said Climent Quintana-Domeque, an economist from the University of Exeter Business School.
Women, Black, Asian, and ethnic minority people showed larger increases in mental distress during the pandemic, according to a previous study.
These gender and ethnicity disparities were still present in March 2021, according to the researchers.
“Policymakers must do more to address these plateauing mental distress levels and to explain the disparities in mental well-being among women and individuals from ethnic minority groups,” said Professor Quintana-Domeque.