According to a report from The Office of National Statistics, the proportion of people in the UK reporting moderate to severe depressive symptoms increased to 19.2% in June 2020 from 9.7% in March 2020, with the number of adults experiencing some form of depression in Great Britain doubling during the current COVID-19 Pandemic. Almost 85% of adults who reported some form of depression cited that their wellbeing was being impacted through anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic.
These statistics, while shocking, are in-line with many of the predictions surrounding the mental health impact of Coronavirus, with the World Health Organisation, believing that a mental health crisis is looming. We know that many of the main triggers for mental ill-health are being exacerbated by the pandemic – increased isolation, financial uncertainty, unemployment, health concerns, disruption to routines and sleep deprivation. The impact is far reaching and we are beginning to see the ripple effect throughout the country. As we touched upon in last month’s column, human interaction, a sense of belonging and purpose and feeling secure is of upmost importance when it comes to maintaining positive mental health.
For those who have already experienced depression, the current climate may have negatively impacted the necessary support and self-care already in place and in some cases caused relapses. For others, these feelings may be new and different and reaching out for that first support can be challenging and overwhelming.
We understand that it is completely normal for some of us to be experiencing periods of low mood, with the simplest of tasks feeling insurmountable. When we start to experience continued low mood, this filters through to our emotions, thought processes and behaviour, as well as our physical wellbeing. As with any mental health condition, it is the severity, frequency and impact on our daily life and relationships that we need to consider and be aware of. According to the Diagnostic and Management Guidelines, to be diagnosed with depression, a person will have at least two of the following symptoms for a period of at least two weeks: Unusual sad mood that won’t go away, loss of enjoyment and interest in things that you would normally find enjoyable and a lack of energy and tiredness.
Early intervention is vital and noticing changes in behaviour in ourselves and others, however subtle, can make all the difference in preventing the symptoms from becoming more serious and promoting recovery. Our ability to talk openly and without fear of judgement is key to enabling this intervention to take place. Reaching out to our support networks, staying connected and looking after our physical health are all more crucial now than ever.
The statistics alone would dictate that there are Sevenoaks Sport & Wellbeing readers who are experiencing some form of depression right now and we urge you to seek support and help. It is never too early to reach out to a trusted friend, family member or health professional. If you feel further education and understanding around depression would be beneficial, then please consider attending our upcoming Understanding
Depression workshop. Please visit our website at westkentmind.org.uk for a full list of support resources and signposting or contact us by phone or email if you have any concerns.