Year: 2022 Source: BJPsych Open. (2022). 8(4), E103. doi:10.1192/bjo.2022.58 SIEC No: 20220640

Background: Waves 1 to 3 (March 2020 to May 2020) of the UK COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing study suggested an improvement in some indicators of mental health across the first 6 weeks of the UK lockdown; however, suicidal ideation increased.
Aims: To report the prevalence of mental health and well-being of adults in the UK from March/April 2020 to February 2021.
Method: Quota sampling was employed at wave 1 (March/April 2020), and online surveys were conducted at seven time points. Primary analyses cover waves 4 (May/June 2020), 5 (July/August 2020), 6 (October 2020) and 7 (February 2021), including a period of increased restrictions in the UK. Mental health indicators were suicidal ideation, self-harm, suicide attempt, depression, anxiety, defeat, entrapment, loneliness and well-being.
Results: A total of 2691 (87.5% of wave 1) individuals participated in at least one survey between waves 4 and 7. Depressive symptoms and loneliness increased from October 2020 to February 2021. Defeat and entrapment increased from July/August 2020 to October 2020, and remained elevated in February 2021. Well-being decreased from July/August 2020 to October 2020. Anxiety symptoms and suicidal ideation did not change. Young adults, women, those who were socially disadvantaged and those with a pre-existing mental health condition reported worse mental health.
Conclusions: The mental health and well-being of the UK population deteriorated from July/August 2020 to October 2020 and February 2021, which coincided with the second wave of COVID-19. Suicidal thoughts did not decrease significantly, suggesting a need for continued vigilance as we recover from the pandemic.