New data from the Mental Health Foundation has shown the impact Covid-19 is having on the nation's wellbeing
Many Scots have been left without hope by coronavirus lockdown, new research has revealed.
One in seven Scottish adults (16%) have felt hopeless because of the pandemic according to a study published by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland.
The data was published as part of a major longitudinal study into mental health called Coronavirus: Mental Health and the Pandemic.
The research identified that, as the pandemic has continued, there has been a divergence of experience with key vulnerable groups being worst affected.
One of the groups most seriously affected by feelings hopelessness was young adults. One quarter of 18-to-24 year-olds said they had felt hopeless as a result of the pandemic during the previous two weeks.
Another group that is significantly affected was unemployed people. One quarter of those out of work said they had felt hopeless over the last two weeks.
At the same time one quarter (26%) of people with pre-existing mental health conditions said they were feeling hopeless.
The polling of 2004 Scottish adults aged 18 and above was carried out from 18- 26 June. The first wave of the survey was originally launched on 17 to 19 March.
The new data is from the Mental Health in the Pandemic study, which started in mid-March and is led by the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with the Universities of Cambridge, Swansea, Strathclyde and Belfast.
Lee Knifton, director of Mental Health Foundation Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “What the research shows is that even as lockdown is easing, millions are still struggling. Overall, about one in seven five people in Scotland are experiencing of hopelessness.
“But dig down a bit deeper into the research and you find that we’re not all in this together. Some are particularly vulnerable.
“In particular, our research showed that young adults, people with existing mental health problems and unemployed people are struggling more than the rest of the population as a whole.
“It’s clear the pandemic remains a much more devastating experience for certain groups That is why we need to urgently see a whole-government mental health response and recovery plan.”
The research also found indications of better news. Levels of anxiety and worry have fallen across the population from 64% of Scottish adults at the beginning of lockdown to 49% in the most recent survey.
Knifton added: “It is good news that anxiety and worry has fallen, but this should not obscure the fact that vulnerable groups are actually struggling more.
“The Scottish and UK Governments must respond to their needs, and take an all-government approach.
“Intervention is needed urgently to prevent many people’s current mental distress from escalating into tragic consequences.
“This research clearly identifies where some of those areas of most need are – including young adults and people with existing mental health problems.”
A new briefing – Smaller Boats in the Covid-19 Storm – the divergence of mental health experience during the pandemic– reveals more of the latest data. It also recommends specific actions that UK and devolved governments can take to help protect UK adults’ mental health from further deterioration.