Nearly half of those who took part in an NHS survey across south London said they had experienced symptoms of depression during the pandemic.
According to new data shared by the South London and Maudsley NHS trust, around 42 per cent of 577 people who took part said they had suffered from anxiety over the last year.
Despite this, in the last fifteen months the number of people seeking support has barely risen and nearly half of people said they did not know where and how to get help, especially those aged eighteen to 34.
The survey also highlighted worries and fears over work. Two thirds of respondents said their work-life balance had worsened during the pandemic and 38 per cent said they had been worried about job security.
Over 40 per cent of people said they struggled to access green spaces during lockdown, and poor internet connection has also posed challenges for parents who struggled to cope with homeschooling. Fifty-eight per cent said their internet connectivity had caused problems at some point during lockdown and, shockingly, eighteen per cent of people from ethnic minority groups said they had no internet access at all.
It is hoped that the survey’s results, and input from residents who have taken part in a series of online mental health summits throughout the last few months, will help develop a plan to tackle added pressure mental health services face in the coming months as the psychological fallout from COVID-19 continues.
Part of this work is through a new ‘South London COVID-19 Preventing Mental-ill Health Taskforce’, jointly created by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
David Bradley, chief executive of South London and Maudsley Trust, said: “This cruel pandemic has affected so many of the people we serve in many different ways.
“We must ensure that our response meets the scale of this challenge.
“And that it addresses both the mental health problems many have experienced and the underlying issues contributing to those problems.”