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Depression in UK doubles during pandemic, official data shows

Tue, 18th Aug 2020 11:54

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The proportion of people in
Britain suffering with depression has almost doubled during the
COVID-19 pandemic, official data showed on Tuesday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 19% of adults
reported some form of depression during June, compared with 10%
in the nine months to March 2020. Stress and anxiety were the
most common types of depression listed by people, it said.

The data raises questions about the wider public health
costs of a pandemic that has already left Britain with the
highest excess mortality rate among major European countries,
according to a recent ONS analysis.

"Adults who were young, female, unable to afford an
unexpected expense or disabled were the most likely to
experience some form of depression during the pandemic," said
Tim Vizard, ONS principal research officer.

One in eight adults developed moderate to severe depression
during the pandemic, the ONS said. Only one in 25 saw an
improvement.

A surge in depression is also likely to further harm the
economy, which has already suffered an historic blow from the
pandemic and the national lockdown it prompted in March.

A 2018 study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development put the cost of mental health problems in
Britain at around 4% of its annual economic output.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce
Editing by Gareth Jones)

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