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The rise in depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic

02 September 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 9

The physical consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus on the human body have been well publicised. However, the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated bereavements, lockdown measures and a looming economic recession on the mental health of the general public (Pierce et al, 2020; Robinson, 2020) has taken a backseat, despite its central importance (Mind, 2020b). Beyond the public in Great Britain, others who have been particularly affected include patients with long-term conditions (Smith, 2020), older people living in care homes (Cowan, 2020) and health professionals, whether in frontline roles or not, as well as those having to shield at home (Cowan et al, 2020).

Depression was already one of the most common mental disorders in Great Britain, but new research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in mental distress among adults across the UK (Pierce et al, 2020). Building on this, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2020) showed that the rate of depressive symptoms among people in Great Britain has doubled to nearly one in five adults (19.2%) as of June 2020 compared with a pre-pandemic rate of one in ten adults (9.7%) indicated by data from July 2019 to March 2020.

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