A Lancet Psychiatry study of 17,452 participants during late April 2020 has found that more than one quarter reported a level of mental distress that is “potentially clinically significant” (27.3 per cent), compared with one in five people before the pandemic (18.9 per cent).

The report says the sharp rise one month after lockdown might represent a “spike in emotional response” that stabilises or falls as people adjust.

But it says mental health could still worsen, particularly among those who might have lost their jobs since the study was carried out.

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