Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, commented:
'Today's new data from the Office for National Statistics, which reveals that depression rates have doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, forewarns of a growing mental health crisis in the UK. Particularly concerning is that those in more precarious economic positions or burdened by existing inequalities – young people, women, clinically vulnerable adults, disabled people and those living in the most deprived areas of England – have been disproportionately affected. This suggests that inequalities in our society have worsened as a result of the pandemic. Despite increasing rates of depression, diagnoses by GPs fell by almost a quarter, suggesting access to mental health care is in decline. Our COVID-19 impact inquiry has found that reduced access to care will have long-term implications on mental health and put even greater pressure on health services.
'These worrying findings show how important it is for government to rapidly address the vast consequences of the pandemic, to protect the long-term impacts on the nation's health.'