August Update: The Psychological Impact of COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, there has been increasing attention on the way in which our mental health and wellbeing have been impacted by the pandemic. Evidence has pointed to individual basic needs being threatened or removed by the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. People have been left fearing for their jobs due to the potential economic downturn, received limited access to education through school closures, experienced initial reductions in food availability through panic buying, and have encountered threats to their health through COVID-19 itself and the reduction in access to healthcare services. Fundamentally, the need for a sense of connection has been compromised, with people left unable to see friends and family for extended periods of time.

There has been an influx in global research exploring the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Longitudinal studies are important to explore the impact of COVID-19 across time and to facilitate comparisons in population mental health pre-, during, and post-COVID-19. As a result, the COVID-MINDS Network aims to bring together researchers in the field to facilitate collaborative working and data-sharing to enable cross-cultural comparisons.

This blog is the first of a monthly series of research updates from the COVID-MINDS Network summarising the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global mental health and wellbeing. Here are the 5 things we've learnt this month.

1. Mental health and wellbeing during lockdown have been worse than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic:

An analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) panel highlighted the psychological impact of COVID-19 using data preceding the pandemicncompared to data captured during the pandemic. In a sample of 42330 UK adults, clinically significant levels of mental distress increased from 18.9% in 2018 to 27.3% in April 2020.