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UK Reports Troubling Spike in Depression During Lockdown

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Rates of depression appear to have almost doubled in Britain since the country was put into lockdown in late March, according to the country’s official statistics agency.

The Office for National Statistics said in a special study released Tuesday that 19.2 percent of adults were likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression in June, three months into the lockdown of large chunks of society and the economy.

That proportion is up from 9.7 percent recorded between July 2019 and March.

The statistics agency, which assessed the same 3,527 adults before and during the pandemic, said 85 percent reported feelings of stress or anxiety.

“Revisiting this same group of adults before and during the pandemic provides a unique insight into how their symptoms of depression have changed over time,” statistician Tim Vizard said.

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During the height of the lockdown, which was imposed on March 23, people were isolated from friends and family, and often alone — an isolation that has the potential to cause mental harm.

Many people have also been worried about their jobs and future financial well-being as the economy nose-dived in the face of the restrictions on everyday life.

Though all age brackets reported higher levels of depression, the study found that adults between 16 and 39 years of age were proportionately more likely to do so, with nearly a third reporting symptoms of depression.

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Vizard said young adults, women or disabled people were the “most likely” to experience some form of depression during the lockdown.

According to the study, one in eight adults, or 12.9 percent, developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic.

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