When we talk about those sectors most affected by Covid, we obviously think of frontline staff such as NHS staff and care workers.
However, the impact on people’s mental health also spans across many other groups in society. The list is pretty exhaustive but we’ll look at a few key groups here:
Young adults 18-24
Studies from mental health organisations have consistently found that young adults are more likely to report stress arising from the pandemic than the population as a whole. Findings show that 18-24 year olds are more likely than any other age group to report hopelessness, loneliness, not coping well and suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Young adults have been especially badly hit during the pandemic with a triple whammy of curtailed education, diminished job prospects and reduced social contact with peers. The period between ages 18 and 24 is already a time of especially high risk for experiencing a mental health problem, with three-quarters of mental health problems arising before the mid-twenties.
Older people who are isolated
The resilience of people in later life has been visible from studies. However, specific issues exist around older people (over 60) and loneliness which were already there before lockdown and are now exacerbated with lockdown and shielding.
While the restrictions have brought separation from family, friends and a range of other social supports, when restrictions have been lifted this has in some case this may cause new worries for older people who will no longer have the same level of protection as during full lockdown.
The Gingerbread charity for single parent families has highlighted the worries of single parents. Many single parents are reliant on insecure jobs which have been disproportionately cut during the pandemic. Financial strain combined with greater isolation and loss of social support has put single parent families under a lot of strain. Home schooling is much more difficult for single parent families than for those where the ability to share such duties exists.
The pandemic has heightened the mental health risks associated with being socially isolated with a baby or very young child, at a time when parents are known already to experience sleep deprivation, which itself can affect their mood and their ability to cope with stress.
There is therefore potentially a higher risk of postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health problems, with far fewer opportunities for these to be identified by people close to them or by primary care services, to enable support to be offered at an early stage. This is not only a concern for mothers themselves, but, because of the negative effects of postnatal depression, on babies’ own emotional health, and their social and cognitive development.
Unemployed and those in insecure employment
Studies have found that unemployment has a range of negative effects, including relative poverty or a drop in standards of living for those who lose a job, stresses associated with financial insecurity, the shame of being unemployed and in receipt of social welfare and loss of vital social networks.
There is frustration and uncertainty about benefits claims, with difficulties reported in filing claims for Universal Credit. They highlighted financial insecurity, which is particularly pronounced for students and the unemployed, but also for those in employment who cannot make ends meet, such as in the gig economy, arts industry, zero hours contracts, working multiple jobs, and for those who have been furloughed or are at risk of redundancy.
This increase in financial insecurity will widen the gap between people with wealth or employment and people without these things, particularly as those in secure jobs and secure households have mentioned one of the positives of lockdown is that they were able to save more money. Therefore, this has led to huge feelings of unfairness among people, as well as feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness and feeling loss of identity. We know that being in secure employment is protective for mental health and often tied in some part to self-esteem, self-confidence and how one perceives oneself.
How we can help you
By utilising the support available from mental health facilities such as The Therapy Company, we can help alleviate stress, anxiety and negative feelings, and instead support you to view your situation in a more positive light, learning how to adopt strategies to help you live a better and happier life.
Our multi-disciplined team works together to deliver a sensitive and accurate diagnosis with an effective treatment plan for fast recovery.
Our team is here to support you through this difficult period so please do contact us on 01772 725530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss how we can help you.