Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
The number of cases has been reported to be decreasing by 70% after a partial curfew being implemented over the past couple of days in England. Upon the measures taken, people have locked themselves in their homes, limited their contact with the relatives, friends and neighbors, and substantially prevented any possible increase in the number of new cases. Nevertheless, in a study that analyzed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, while 16% of the participants reported depression, along with 17% that reported anxiety prior to the partial curfew, 38% of the participants reported an increase in the symptoms of depression and 36% reported an increase in the symptoms of anxiety right after the curfew. Although the rates of depression and anxiety remained high for a week after the declaration of the curfew, they were not as severe as the first day.
A team consisting of experts led by Professor Richard Bentall from the University of Sheffield conducted a psychological research with a population of 2000 individuals, using the standardized mental health measurements between March 23, Monday and March 27, Friday. The participants of an online questionnaire were asked about their ages, genders, incomes, current conditions, their opinions on COVID-19, their methods of coping, and psychological symptoms. During the week, the study showed that 25% of women and 18% of men demonstrated clinically significant anxiety, that 23% of women and 21% of men showed symptoms of depression, and that 15% of women and 19% of men were stressful. Additionally, people under 35, city dwellers, those living alone or with children, those with lower income, those with health problems, and individuals, whose incomes were affected by COVID-19, had higher rates of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the levels of anxiety and depression were lower in people who feel that they belong to their neighborhoods and trust their neighbors.
The study reported that 32% of the people had a loss of income due to COVID-19. When the participants were asked to grade their current “level of financial anxiety” upon the pandemic, the mean response was 6 (on a scale of 0 to 10: 0 – I am not concerned at all, 10 – I am extremely concerned).
The initial results of the study show that a great majority of the population are making more efforts to protect their health, while 69% report that they are getting enough sleep and two-thirds state that they are keeping a balanced diet. Approximately 70% reported that, if available, they would absolutely want to be vaccinated or have their children vaccinated against coronavirus. Nevertheless, on average, people believe they have less than 50% chance of getting infected with the virus next month.