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Mental health of women and young people hit hardest by lockdown, study finds
23 July 2020

The independent-A study has suggested women and young people have been hardest hit psychologically by the Covid-19 lockdown, as MPs were told the world will be living with Covid-19 for “decades to come”.

A new study found 27 per cent of people in the UK were experiencing clinically significant levels of psychological distress in April, compared with 19 per cent before the pandemic.

A General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) assessing the severity of a mental health problem over the previous few weeks also showed increasing distress across the population in April.

The 12 questions included how often people experienced symptoms such as difficulties sleeping or concentrating, problems with decision-making or feeling overwhelmed.

Increases were bigger in some groups compared to others – with a 33 per cent rise among women, 32 per cent among parents with children under five and 37 per cent among young people aged 18 to 24, the study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal found.

Sally McManus, joint senior author of the study from City University, said: “The pandemic has brought people’s differing life circumstances into stark contrast.

“We found that, overall, pre-existing inequalities in mental health for women and young people have widened.

“At the same time, new inequalities have emerged, such as for those living with pre-school children.”

Data from the Office of National Statistics on homeschooling during the Covid-19 pandemic is due to be released on Wednesday.

Research on how parents in Great Britain have managed to work from home in addition to their parenting responsibilities is also set to be released by the agency.