Mental health and coronavirus


The coronavirus outbreak has been a stressful time for all of us, but for people who have lost income or are at risk of redundancy this is a particular difficult period. When we take a look at how our service users’ wellbeing has been affected by the crisis - we’ve discovered an increase in levels of anxiety and a decrease in happiness:

  • Almost half of our users reported 'high' anxiety levels
  • Two-fifths of our users reported low levels of happiness

We consistently survey users of our website services and helpline about their situation and wellbeing, using Office for National Statistics measures. From the data collected over the course of the pandemic and our data we can explore the impact coronavirus has had on people’s wellbeing.

Respondents to our service user survey reported:

  • 47% had 'high' anxiety levels - an increase from 38% pre-Covid-19
  • 36% had low 'life satisfaction' - an increase from 34% pre-Covid-19
  • 28% had low levels of feeling life was worthwhile  - no change since pre-Covid-19
  • 41% had low levels of happiness - an increase from 36% pre-Covid-19

Four key themes emerging from the qualitative responses about why people were struggling with their mental health:

  • Loss of income
  • Social distancing and isolation under lockdown
  • Worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions
  • Stress and anxiety around the government’s response to the outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak  has caused many people to use the welfare system for the first time. Not knowing what your entitlements are or how to go about making a claim can be serious causes of stress. At the same time, people are worried about their finances and risks associated with that such as debt and eviction. They are also worried about the longer-term financial impact for themselves or their family.

Another common theme was people who already have mental health issues  and are struggling with the current pressures of Covid-19. Financial worries were cited as a reason for a decline in mental health, as well as feelings of isolation. For some who were on a low income before Covid-19 hit, the financial pressures were already contributing to their worsening mental ill health, and have been made worse by this crisis.