Depression rates in the UK have doubled since the Covid pandemic began – but fewer people are diagnosed, according to official data
- The Bureau of National Statistics found that one in five suffered from depression this year, compared to a tenth before Covid
- Poorer people – with an disposable income of less than £ 850 – were three times more likely to have symptoms
- However, the number of diagnoses declined between the start of the pandemic and August when the NHS turned attention to fighting viruses
The number of Britons suffering from depression more than doubled during the pandemic. This comes from official figures that reveal the devastating effects of lockdowns.
A report released today by the Office for National Statistics found that one in five adults across the UK had some form of depression so far this year, compared to one in ten before the Covid crisis.
The report confirms fears by experts that more than a year of social isolation, massive job losses and widespread concerns about the pandemic would affect the country’s mental health.
Poorer people – defined as people with an disposable income of less than £ 850 – were almost three times as likely to have symptoms as people with more capital in early 2021 (35 percent versus 13 percent).
About a third of Shielder asked to follow even stricter social distancing rules than the rest of the country suffered from depression this year, compared with 20 percent for people with no underlying medical conditions.
According to the ONS, younger people are more likely to feel down and the number of Britons reporting symptoms of depression decreases with age. A third of those under 30 said they felt depressed this year, compared with about a quarter in their forties and forties in their 50s, 13 percent in their 60s, and 10 percent in their over 70s.
While self-reported depression increased, a separate report from the ONS found that the number of diagnoses of the condition had decreased between the start of the pandemic and August last year.
However, this was only because a third fewer GP diagnoses were made for all diseases during that time as NHS services and staff were re-deployed to focus on Covid. Despite the decline, depression actually made up a larger percentage of total diagnoses last year than it did before the pandemic.
The ONS analyzed the responses of 23,935 people aged 16 and over in 2021 and compared them with data collected before and during the pandemic. Depression was defined as having moderate to severe symptoms rather than just mood swings.
It found that 21 percent of people aged 16 and over in the UK experienced depression between January 27 and March 7. That was a 10 percent increase before the pandemic between July 2019 and March 2020.
Younger adults and women were more likely to have some form of depression, with 43 percent of women aged 16 to 29 years and 26 percent of men the same age exhibiting symptoms.
For 16 to 39 year olds, the proportion was 29 percent versus 11 percent, and for people with disabilities 39 percent versus 27 percent.
About 25 percent of people living in a single-person household had depression in early 2021, up from 15 percent before the pandemic.
For those who live in a household with at least one child under the age of 16, the proportion has more than tripled – from 6 percent to 23 percent.
About 28 percent of adults in the most deprived areas of England had symptoms of depression, compared with 17 percent in the least deprived areas.
Separate ONS figures released Wednesday show that general practitioners’ diagnoses of depression in England fell 23.7% between March 23 and August 31 last year compared to the same period in 2019.
Depression accounted for 15.6 percent of all diagnoses in the reporting period – an increase of 1.3 percentage points.
The greatest decline in diagnoses was seen among 45 to 54-year-olds – a decrease of 30.1 percent.
As a percentage of all diagnoses, the Chinese ethnic group recorded the largest percentage change in the diagnosis of depression of all ethnic groups, with an increase of 4.0 percentage points.
People living in the second most deprived areas saw an increase in diagnoses of depression of 1.5 percentage points as a percentage of all diagnoses.
ONS Principal Investigator Theodore Joloza said: “While the number of general practitioner-diagnosed cases of depression in adults has decreased during the pandemic, these cases account for a larger percentage of total diagnoses than they did before the pandemic.
In the meantime, self-reported feelings related to depression continue to increase. The picture shows an increasing burden on mental health as many people do not necessarily have access to medical help. ‘