Young and unemployed ‘most affected by feeling hopeless’

A survey found that certain groups have been more affected than others during the pandemic.

Young adults and the unemployed have been disproportionately affected by feelings of hopelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research.

A survey of 2004 adults by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland found that as the pandemic has progressed, certain vulnerable groups are being more severely affected than others.

The research, carried out between June 18 to 26, found one quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds said they felt hopeless as a result of the pandemic in the two weeks prior to the survey.

Those who are unemployed are also being seriously affected by feelings of hopelessness, with 25% of that group also saying they have struggled.

A total of 26% of those with pre-existing mental health issues said they felt hopeless in the two weeks prior to the survey.

In comparison, one in seven (16%) adults over the age of 24 have experienced feelings of hopelessness.

Lee Knifton, director of Mental Health Foundation Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “What the research shows is that even as lockdown is easing, millions are still struggling. Overall, about one in seven people in Scotland are experiencing of hopelessness.

“But dig down a bit deeper into the research and you find that we’re not all in this together. Some are particularly vulnerable.

“In particular, our research showed that young adults, people with existing mental health problems and unemployed people are struggling more than the rest of the population as a whole.

“It’s clear the pandemic remains a much more devastating experience for certain groups That is why we need to urgently see a whole-government mental health response and recovery plan.”

However, the research found levels of anxiety and worry have fallen, down from 64% at the beginning of lockdown in March to 49% in the last survey at the end of June.

Mr Knifton said that is good news, but it must not obscure the fact vulnerable groups are still struggling.

He added: “The Scottish and UK governments must respond to their needs, and take an all-government approach.

“Intervention is needed urgently to prevent many people’s current mental distress from escalating into tragic consequences.

“This research clearly identifies where some of those areas of most need are – including young adults and people with existing mental health problems.”

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