The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled life in all countries globally, and the UK is no different. With close to 3,00,000 active cases, the UK is the tenth-worst affected country in the world. To avoid community spread, the UK Government imposed the lockdown on March 23, 2020, which caused restrictions on social contact, office work, traveling, and more. It created a severe impact on employment, livelihood, and future plans, raising concerns about mental health in the country.
The UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) panel conducted a study on 53,351 participants aged 16 years or older. The study was conducted in the form of a web survey, where the mental health of the participants was assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). The participants were evaluated on their ability to make informed decisions.
Out of 53,351 participants, 42,330 eligible participated in the survey. It showed that the clinically significant levels of mental distress rose from 18.9% in 2018 to 27.3% in April 2020, one month into the lockdown. The GHQ score also increased from 11.5 in 2018 to 12.6 in April 2020. The rise was most significant in 18-24-year-olds, followed by 25-34-year-olds, women, and people living with young children.
The research concluded that mental health in the UK had declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It also emphasized the requirement of policies to address the needs of women, young people, and parents.