08/03 News Flash 4: Coronavirus Pandemic and Mental Health

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As isolation and social distancing measures remain in place, mental health issues are of growing concern. A paper published in the Lancet Journal of Psychiatry studied mental health in the adult UK population before and after the lockdown.

After surveying eligible participants, the levels of mental distress rose from 18.9% last year to 27.3%. The study used the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) to measure mental health. GHQ-12 surveys participants on their quality of sleep, concentration, problems in decision making, strain, and feeling overwhelmed. The mean GHQ-12 score was 0.48 points higher than expected. Notably, mental distress affected younger citizens, women and those living with children at a higher rate. 

The results highlight the need for government intervention to support those disproportionately affected by mental health issues. For example, a greater increase in mental distress in women indicates the need to improve domestic violence and reproductive health services.