- ONS asked 320,000 over-16s how satisfied, happy and worried they are
- Results from the first year of the pandemic show health has fallen to record low
- Experts say findings not surprising after ‘incredibly difficult year for many’
Britons were more miserable than ever in the first year of the Covid pandemic, data has emerged today.
Well-being has fallen to the lowest level since records began nearly a decade ago.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report also revealed that the anxiety rate reached its highest level in the year ending March 2021.
The survey of hundreds of thousands of participants across the UK shows the impact of the pandemic’s first year on the British outlook.
People spent much of the 12 months under stringent measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, meaning they were stuck at home, unable to see loved ones and only for exercise or essential shopping once a day allowed to venture outside.
Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that life satisfaction fell to the lowest level since the data began to be collected in 2014, while anxiety reached its highest level. Meanwhile, feelings that life is meaningful and happiness are at their lowest level in seven years
The map shows different levels of life satisfaction across the UK, with darker shades of blue, participants reporting on average that they were more satisfied, while lighter colors equating to less satisfaction with life.
Glennis Jackson, clinical head for mental health at Bupa UK, said the findings are not surprising after a turbulent year.
He added: ‘It’s been an incredibly difficult year for many people, things have changed rapidly, and most of us are concerned about what this means for us and our loved ones.
‘These feelings of worry, tension and uncertainty must have undoubtedly affected our well-being and life satisfaction.
‘From the lockdown at the beginning of the year to the opening of offices and our social calendars – there have been so many different emotions for everyone to process.
Worldwide depression and anxiety cases increased by almost 25% during the covid pandemic
A study found that the covid pandemic saw a sharp increase in cases of anxiety and depression across the world.
An Australian research team led by the University of Queensland found that the incidence of both mental health conditions increased by about 25 percent in 2020.
Young people and women under the age of 25 were hit particularly hard.
The study adds to growing data showing the negative impact of the pandemic on the world’s collective mental health.
“Our findings highlight the urgent need to strengthen mental health systems to address the growing burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders worldwide,” Dr Damien Santomaro, a researcher at the University of Queensland, said in a statement.
The researchers, who published their findings in The Lancet last Friday, conducted a meta-analysis of 48 studies published in 2020 and January 2021.
The team identified 246.2 million cases of major depressive disorder in 2020, with a baseline of 193 million cases, meaning the pandemic caused an additional 53.2 million cases of depression — or an increase of 27.5 percent.
Two-thirds of the additional cases were in women, 35.5 million out of 53.2 million.
‘It is a normal and natural reaction to be anxious when faced with uncertainty and situations beyond our control.’
The ONS asked 320,000 over-16s how satisfied they were with life, the extent to which they felt the work they were doing was worthwhile, as well as how happy and anxious they felt.
They answered questions on a scale of 0 to 10.
For the first three questions, zero to four was considered low, five to six were moderate, seven to eight were high, while nine to 10 were considered very high.
For the anxiety question, zero to three was low, four to five was moderate and more than six was high.
The average life satisfaction score was 7.39 – the lowest level ever.
And less than a quarter gave a score of nine or 10 — the smallest proportion since records began.
Northern Ireland (7.54) had the highest life satisfaction compared to the other three home nations (7.38).
Among local officials, people in the Orkney Islands reported having the highest life satisfaction (8.17), followed by those in Torridge (8.10) and South Hams (8.05).
Meanwhile, Chichester (6.61), Camden (6.78) and Gravesham (6.82) had the lowest numbers of people.
And people believed that the average score for the work they did had dropped to 7.71 – the lowest figure since 2014.
Participants responded with the highest score in Northern Ireland (7.9), followed by England (7.71), Wales (7.69) and Scotland (7.68).
People said their lives were most meaningful in West Devon (8.54), Runnymede (8.31) and Orkney Island (8.31), while levels were lowest in Chichester (6.82), Cannock Chase (7.07) and Test Valley (7.11).
People gave an average score of 7.31 in response to how happy they felt – with zero being not happy at all and 10 being completely happy, the lowest figure in seven years.
And less than a third gave a score of nine or 10, the lowest figure ever.
Scotland’s population said they were the most miserable (7.27), followed by Wales (7.30), England (7.31) and Northern Ireland (7.49).
And people were happiest in Woking (8.30), Orkney Islands (8.11) and Torridge (8.04), while they were most unhappy in Gadling (6.51), Stevenage (6.58) and Cannock Chase (6.66).
Meanwhile, people gave an average anxiety score of 3.31, the highest ever recorded, with scores of zero no worries and 10 very worried.
Among local officials, people in the Orkney Islands reported having the highest life satisfaction (8.17), followed by those in Torridge (8.10) and South Hams (8.05). Meanwhile in Chichester (6.61),…