More than a quarter of Britons suffered from mental health problems during the first month of lockdown, a study has found.
Manchester University researchers surveyed 17,500 people in April, when the public was ordered not to leave home unless it was absolutely essential.
They found more than a quarter (27 per cent) of participants experienced ‘significant mental distress’ during that time, up by fewer than one in five pre-lockdown.
Women under the age of 25 were the hardest hit, with 44 per cent having difficulty sleeping, concentrating or feelings of being overwhelmed.
The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry, is the first peer-reviewed research into how the draconian measures affected people’s mental wellbeing.
Researchers behind the paper say they are ‘concerned the economic fallout from the crisis will cause mental illness to rise even now that lockdown has been lifted.
The graph shows how levels of mental distress were in men and women across ages in April 2020.
Women under the age of 25 have the highest levels of significant mental health distress, according to a survey in April, hokifreebet at 44 per cent
The study involved people who had previously been part of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS).
UKHLS has been tracking mental health in 40,000 households for more than ten years, and so is a useful tool to measure how mental illness in the population is changing over time.
Between April 23 and 30, one month after the UK lockdown was introduced on March 23, people who had responded to the most recent UKHLS surveys were invited to complete an online poll about their mental health.