You are not alone
I think, by this point at the start of 2021, it’s safe to say that the pandemic has not been easy. Covid-19 has been raging on since late March in the UK - even earlier for other countries - and has caused significant disruption in everybody’s day to day lives. It’s times like these where communities are expected to pull together and people begin to feel grateful for the little things they usually take for granted, like their physical health, their family and their friends and the local coffee shop.
If you’re struggling with your mental health in any way, whether that’s thanks to the pandemic or not, After the Storm wants you to know that you’re not alone. We pulled together a wide range of research to estimate the mental health cost of this pandemic, and the figures are astounding.
We estimate that 12 million Brits are suffering from pandemic-related ill mental health. It’s an extremely unprecedented time; uncertainty is rife and things are really scary, so it’s no wonder 4.3 million people are facing mental health issues like depression, anxiety and PTSD for the first time in their lives and the reasons are innumerable.
For those who have lost family members and loved ones - especially those who didn’t get their chance to say goodbye - pandemic related bereavement is estimated to have left 36,000 people in need of mental health support for depression, anxiety and PTSD with depression having the worst impact. With 55% of people feeling that the pandemic has made the grieving process especially difficult, and 133,000 families feeling that lockdown restrictions made things worse for them, this figure is a modest look at the impact this loss of life will have on the population going forward.
Job losses and money worries, too, have caused a severe uptick in people who will seek support for mental health services to 29,684. Unfortunately, the number of people affected by coronavirus in severe problem debt has almost doubled since the beginning of the outbreak to 1.2 million people and 17% of those who financial situation has been negatively impacted by coronavirus have experienced one or more forms of hardship since March, including going without meals and rationing basic utilities (compared with 4% of those not impacted by coronavirus).
It’s no question that this will have a lasting damaging effect on the national psyche - precarious living situations and a lack of job security are extremely stress-inducing. For men, especially, this type of stress is distinctly difficult. One in 10 men who contacted Samaritans over Covid-19 concerns were worried about their financial situation, while 1 in 4 were worried about their family’s wellbeing.
Stress is another worrying element of the after-effects of this pandemic: only 65% of adults say they are coping well with pandemic related stress, while 35% of people said they’d eaten too much to cope with it. A further 19% of people have relied on alcohol to manage their stress throughout the pandemic, and 2% have taken illicit drugs for the same purpose.
Young people, children, relationships and those struggling with addiction are also suffering more intensely than ever due to the pandemic. Not only this, but the pandemic has decimated the NHS, it’s mental health services in particular. And among people who have not experienced mental ill health prior to the pandemic, demand for services is forecast at 1.33 million people for moderate-severe anxiety and 1.82 million for moderate to severe depression - and that’s just two potential illnesses.
That’s why, here at After the Storm, we want you to know that you are not alone. As long as we exist, you have a place to seek support, advice, community and, hopefully, solace. If you or a loved one have found yourself struggling in this time, browse our hub of reliable and trustworthy mental health service providers and set yourself on the right track.
We’ve almost weathered the storm, it’s what comes next that counts.