New research into the impact COVID-19 is having on Britain’s mental health by the UK’s leading virtual psychology clinic, My Online Therapy, has found financial worries are taking the biggest toll.
The global pandemic has brought great disruptions, monumental challenges and major changes to the way we live our lives, all of which are pushing Britain towards a mental health crisis.
This year’s World Mental Health Day campaign for “increased investment in mental health” is more important than ever. It comes at a time when our daily lives have changed significantly as a result of COVID-19.
To investigate just how significant of an impact the pandemic has had and continues to have on people in Britain, My Online Therapy carried out research which provides unique insights into the mental health effects of the pandemic.
The findings reveal that a staggering 69% of people in the UK said that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their overall mental wellbeing.
People’s financial situations have had the largest negative impact on their mental health, with more than a third (36%) of respondents revealing that they are struggling the most mentally with how they will reckon with their finances.
A startling 71% of those surveyed admitted that they are worried about having enough money to pay their rent, mortgage and utility bills as a result of COVID-19, and of those, a quarter (25%) are extremely worried. Even more concerning is that 67% of respondents said they are worried about having enough money to buy basic essentials such as food and clothing.
Adding to the financial strain already felt by a vast majority of Britons, the furlough scheme is coming to an end at the end of October, meaning there is heightened anxiety and stress related to debt and other financial issues.
Almost half (49%) of Britons are worried about the furlough scheme coming to an end, while more than half (54%) are worried about losing their job or someone in their household losing their job when the scheme grinds to a halt on October 31st.
Second to finances, 34% of respondents said relationships have had the largest negative impact on their mental health amid the pandemic. More than a third (34%) revealed that COVID-19 has put a strain on their relationship with their family, while 30% said it has put tension on their relationship with their partner. More than a quarter (26%) admitted that it has had a negative impact on their friendships.
Work and life changes have also been big stressors over the last few months, with 33% and 26% of respondents respectively revealing that they have had the largest negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
Body image is also something that has significantly affected Britons’ mental health in recent years, however the magnitude of its impact has decreased during the pandemic, with 22% of respondents saying it has negatively impacted their mental health since March when COVID-19 reached the UK compared to 31% pre-pandemic.
In response to the findings and to mark World Mental Health Day 2020, My Online Therapy will be offering a one month free subscription to its newly launched self-care product, which provides evidence-based therapy skills and techniques from qualified psychologists to support mental and emotional wellbeing on a daily basis.
The one month free subscription will provide a fully stocked audio and video library that subscribers can use on their own or in conjunction with face-to-face therapy sessions. Users can search for specific skills and techniques based on how they’re feeling or what they would like to work on.
Elettra Bianchi Dennerlein, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of My Online Therapy said: “The world as we know it has changed dramatically as we experience the unprecedented turmoil caused by coronavirus, and it is clear that this has had a considerable impact on our mental health. Britons all over the country are experiencing heightened anxiety amid the pandemic, which is increasing demand for mental health services and putting a strain on the NHS services that are available.
“We hope that this promotion will help those suffering with their mental health by providing them with the skills and techniques needed to cope and improve their mental wellbeing during such emotionally challenging and uncertain times. Prioritising mental health has never been more critical as it is absolutely fundamental to our overall health and wellbeing.”