By Rachael Grealish
The Office for National Statistics has reported almost half of Britons have been experiencing a sharp rise in “high” levels of anxiety since the UK went into lockdown due to COVID-19.
In a report by the ONS, the week in which the UK was put into lockdown, between March 20 and 30 2020, 49.6 percent of people in Great Britain aged 16 years and over reported “high” anxiety (rating 6 to 10). This equates to over 25 million people.
Average anxiety ratings in this period were 5.18 and remained elevated over the periods between March 27 and April 6, and between April 3 and 13 2020.
As a point of reference, 21.0 percent people in the UK reported high anxiety between October and December 2019, and the average anxiety rating was 2.97 – the ONS do note these figures come from different surveys.
It was reported people’s most common concerns related to their well-being, their work, and their finances; those who think they will not be able to save money in the next year reported anxiety 33 percent higher on average compared with those who think they will.
People who had already been impacted financially were also reporting lower well-being; people who had experienced a reduction in household finances because of COVID-19 reported 16 percent higher anxiety on average.
People who rent and the self-employed were more likely to have had their household finances and their jobs negatively impacted due to coronavirus, through reduced income, using savings to cover living costs, reduced working hours, and the inability to save for the future.
Along with heightened levels of anxiety the statistics show a reduction in Britons’ happiness and ratings of life satisfaction, and feelings that things done in life are worthwhile.
The proportion of people reporting low levels of happiness (rating 0 to 4) was 20.7 percent in the period between March 20 and 30 2020 – another sharp rise since the ratings of 8.4 percent between October and December 2019.
Similarly, when people were asked ‘what are you most concerned about from all the things you raised worries over?’ people were shown to be most concerned about their well-being, household finances and their work, of all impacts from COVID-19.
The report is broken down into different categories such as sex, age, housing tenure and household income. The full report can be read here.