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Cost of living keeps depression rates above pre-pandemic levels, says ONS | UK cost

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The impact of Britain’s cost of living crisis is keeping rates of depression at much higher levels than before the Covid pandemic, according to official estimates showing adults in the most deprived areas are among those suffering most.

The Office for National Statistics said about one in six adults experienced moderate to severe depressive symptoms last month. Although similar to the rates found in summer last year, it said the figure was six percentage points higher than before the Covid pandemic took hold in March 2020.

Linking the elevated levels of depression with the cost of living crisis, the survey evidence showed people struggling with energy bills, rent or a mortgage, or being forced to borrow to make ends meet were more likely to have suffered this autumn.

Tim Vizard from the ONS said: “While levels of depression remain similar to a year ago, they are significantly above pre-pandemic levels. Certainly we continue to see adults who are experiencing difficulties with their finances more likely to have some form of depression, highlighting some of the challenges faced by adults across the country.”

According to the snapshot of the nation’s mental health, rates of depression were higher among adults who were economically inactive because of long-term sickness, as well as among unpaid carers, disabled adults, people living in the most deprived areas of England, young adults, and women.

As many as 59% of adults in economic inactivity due to long-term ill health had suffered with bouts of depression. It comes after separate research showed a 22% rise in inactivity in the labour market since 2019 linked to mental illness and nervous disorders.

Economic inactivity – when people aged 16-64 are neither in work nor looking for a new job – has soared since the onset of the pandemic, contributing to Britain’s status as the only country in the OECD group of advanced economies with overall employment still below its pre-Covid peak.

Read More: Cost of living keeps depression rates above pre-pandemic levels, says ONS | UK cost

2022-12-06 17:29:00

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