Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, and as we emerge from a global pandemic which continues to affect millions of people, it has never been so important to consider the impact of the coronavirus crisis on mental health, recognise the signs and symptoms and provide a platform for those suffering to reach out for help.
According to Office for National Statistics report, around 1 in 5 (21%) adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March); this is an increase since November 2020 (19%) and more than double that observed before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (10%).
As an organisation (Caridon Foundation) that works with vulnerable tenants, it is concerning to learn that those most likely to experience some form of depression are younger adults and women, disabled and clinically extremely vulnerable adults and people who rent homes as opposed to homeowners.
Caridon Foundation aims to help tenants who struggle to manage their finances and as a result, may face the risk of eviction. Focusing on financial characteristics, the pandemic has accelerated many financial fears, with around 1 in 3 (35%) adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected but necessary expense of £850, experiencing depressive symptoms in early 2021, compared with 1 in 5 (21%) adults before the pandemic.
In addition, for working age adults aged 16 to 64 years, those with lower gross personal incomes of less than £10,000 a year had the highest rates of depressive symptoms (37%) when compared with all higher income groups.
The complexities and breadth of mental health cannot be examined in a single report, but what the data does show is that the impact of the pandemic on mental health is real and far reaching. Whilst lockdown eases, people can reunite with loved ones and businesses can start to recover losses, but for some people tackling the lasting damage to their mental health could take much longer.
The signs of mental illness can vary from person to person depending on a number of factors and can affect thoughts, emotions and behaviours in a range of different ways. It may start with simply feeling sad and down, having excessive fears or worries but lead on to suicidal thoughts. Symptoms may include excessive mood changes, extreme tiredness and low energy or trouble sleeping, an inability to cope with daily issues and a desire to turn to alcohol or drugs to cope.
We would urge any of our tenants who feel that their mental health is suffering to contact their Caridon Foundation support worker today.