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Depression among Britain’s adults has more than doubled since before pandemic hit, new figures reveal

DEPRESSION among Britain’s adults has more than doubled since before the pandemic hit, new figures described as “deeply worrying” suggest. 

About 21 per cent of adults experienced some form of depression compared with just 10 per cent before the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020. 

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published today showed that young women have been particularly hit by declining mental health. 

Forty-three per cent of women aged 16 to 29 experienced depressive symptoms in 2021 compared with 26 per cent of men in the same age group. 

Commenting on the figures, the Young Women’s Trust said it was not surprised given the “extreme pressures” facing this group, including a loss of income, increased caring responsibilities and job insecurity. 

Women were also more likely than men to experience some form of depression in all other age groups. The ONS found that among women aged 30 to 49 the figure stood at 25 per cent, compared with 18 per cent for men.

Rates of depression were also higher among people from ethnic minority backgrounds compared with white, with the figure standing as 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. 

The figures also showed that disabled adults experienced depression at a rate three times greater than non-disabled people during the third lockdown.

Disability charity Sense chief executive Richard Kramer said that due to shielding, people with disabilities have been living without their usual level of support this year, “causing great anxiety and leaving them isolated, lonely and, as this data shows, depressed.

“The government must recognise the severe impact of the pandemic on disabled people and make sure they have the right care and support as we move out of lockdown by providing a dedicated Covid-19 recovery plan for them,” he urged. 

Separate figures released by the ONS on Tuesday also suggest that fewer people with depression are seeking medical help. 

It found that diagnoses by GPs in England between March 23 and August 31 last year fell by 23.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2019.

Mind head of information Stephen Buckley said: “We can not underestimate the impact that the pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health whether that’s bereavement, the devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown, or the impact of the latest economic recession which may have affected our jobs and livelihoods.”

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