Official figures released today have confirmed that there has been a massive spike in levels of anxiety across adults in the UK as their financial, mental and physical health suffers during the pandemic.
The Office for National Statistics said that between 20 March and 30 March 2020, almost half (49.6%) of people in the UK reported “high” (rating 6 to 10) anxiety.
That is “sharply elevated”, the ONS said, compared with the end of 2019 (21%).
It means that an estimated 25 million people of people aged 16 and over are now reporting high levels of anxiety.
Individuals’ most common concerns related to their wellbeing, their work and their finances. Those who think they will not be able to save money in the next year reported anxiety 33% higher on average compared with those who think they will.
People who had already been impacted financially were also reporting lower wellbeing, the ONS said. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who had experienced a reduction in household finances because of the pandemic reported 16% higher anxiety on average.
The ONS said there were some “marked” changes to “low” (rating 0 to 4) ratings for life satisfaction, feeling that things done in life are worthwhile, and happiness.
The proportion of people reporting “low” happiness was 20.7% between 20 and 30 March. In the last quarter of last year (October to December), that figure stood at 8.4%.
The full findings from the ONS research are available here.