Last reviewed 1 September 2020

Almost one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the Covid-19 pandemic in June 2020; this had almost doubled from 9.7% in the period July 2019 to March 2020.

This is the headline finding of a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Coronavirus and Depression in Adults, Great Britain.

Adults who were aged 16–39 years old, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled, were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic, the ONS found.

Depression is among the most common types of mental disorders experienced by adults in Great Britain. It can affect people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

Feeling stressed or anxious was the most common way adults experiencing some form of depression felt their wellbeing was being affected during the pandemic, with 84.9% stating this.

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at mental health charity Mind, said: “We know people already struggling with their mental health or with related issues like problems with employment, housing, benefits and debt have been hardest hit by coronavirus, but today’s figures also show how the pandemic has affected people who were previously well and are now experiencing depressive symptoms for the first time.”

With many emergency measures introduced by Government — such as furlough, emergency housing, and better Statutory Sick Pay — having stopped or are winding down, MIND has warned that even more people will be affected.

Rachel Suff, senior policy advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), pointed out the impact of new work demands and arrangements that people were facing as a result of the pandemic.

“Working full time from home for a few weeks is a different prospect to doing so indefinitely, and there’s a risk that some could feel isolated emotionally and cut off from the organisation,” she said.

Ms Suff called on employers to “ramp up” their mental health support across a number of areas with employees being encouraged to discuss any concerns about their role, workload or how they are feeling with their line managers.