The proportion of people across the UK suffering with depression has almost doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Releasing the data on Tuesday, the ONS said 19 percent of adults reported some form of depression during June, compared with 10 percent in the nine months leading up to March 2020. The most common types of depression listed by people were stress and anxiety.

The pandemic has already left the UK with the highest excess mortality rate among major European countries, recent ONS analysis showed.
During the pandemic, one in eight adults developed moderate to severe depression, the statistics office said, adding that only one in 25 saw an improvement.

Among the most vulnerable to depression throughout the pandemic were adults who were young, female, disabled or unable to afford an unanticipated expense. The ONS said adults who told it they would be unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 ($1,119) were more likely to experience some form of depression.

“These economic factors are likely to play an important role in the nation’s mental health in the coming months and years,” Elaine Fox, professor of cognitive and affective psychology at the University of Oxford, told Reuters.

The British economy has sustained a historic blow from the pandemic and the national lockdown it prompted in March. In 2018, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said in a study that the cost of mental health problems in the UK was at around four percent of the country’s annual economic output.

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