Coronavirus UK: One in ten people had thoughts of suicide during lockdown

One in ten people had thoughts of suicide by the end of the first six weeks of the UK lockdown.

Scientists from the University of Glasgow found that the pandemic and being confined to their home country had a huge impact on the mental health of people across the UK.

The researchers surveyed 3,000 adults and found that the number of people thinking about suicide increased by two percentage points between March and May.

Although it's a small increase, given the short span of time, it's significant, the researchers said.

Young people, women and people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds were more likely to report mental health deterioration during lockdown.

One in seven (14 percent) young adults had suicidal thoughts in mid-May, up from around 12.5 percent, the study said.

Samaritans called the results "gross" and said they "leave us without a doubt, Covid-19 has been detrimental to the nation's mental health".

One in ten people had thoughts of suicide by the end of the first six weeks of the UK lockdown. For those under 30, the rates were even higher (photo in stock)

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, was funded by mental health charities, the Samaritans, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), and the Mindstep Foundation.

Between March and May, three waves of participants were surveyed about pre-existing mental health problems, attempted suicide and self-harm, thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety, feelings of defeat, trapped feelings, mental well-being and loneliness.


Around one in ten incidents the London Ambulance Service (LAS) participated in during the coronavirus pandemic involved mental health.

Out of a total of 826,396 incidents between January and September, 81,644 (10%) had a mental health element.

Mental health incidents have increased every month since March when the Covid-19 lockdown measures were put in place.

June saw the highest percentage of mental health missions attended, at 12 percent of the total, or one in eight calls.

Last year, LAS staff and volunteers participated in more than 105,000 incidents in which patients suffered from a mental illness – around nine percent of all those affected.

The LAS Mental Health Joint Response Car program includes six teams of a registered nurse and a mental health medic dispatched to patients in a mental health crisis.

The Advanced Pilot saw an 80 percent reduction in unnecessary trips to emergency rooms in favor of more appropriate psychiatric care or referrals between January 19 and April 12.

According to the LAS assessment, LAS crews operating outside the system discharged 41 percent of the patients on site with care or a more appropriate referral.

Mental health nurses also work in LAS control rooms, providing advice on symptoms and helping determine whether a car needs to be shipped for mental health.

The rising number of mental health incidents is investigated in the BBC One documentary Ambulance, which airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

As a result, the crews respond to a call about a suicidal patient dragged out of the Thames by a passerby and help calm a teenager who has injured himself.

Keith, a paramedic, said, "Life can be difficult and overwhelming at times. This is why it's so important for people to turn to someone they trust."

"Sometimes one conversation is enough for someone to get the help they need when they have problems."

On March 23, the British government announced a nationwide lockdown. The public has been ordered to stay home to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Eight percent of people in the first wave of the study between March 31 and April 9 reported having thoughts of suicide.

That rose to 9.8 percent by the end of May after the lockdown occurred.

For young adults between the ages of 19 and 29, the figure was 14 percent, compared with 12.5 percent.

The researchers said that while the increases are relatively small, they are significant due to the short period of time in which they occurred.

They said it was not possible to make direct comparisons with pre-Covid-19 rates.

However, the average suicidal thought rate among young adults is above the 11 percent reported by young adults in a UK study published two years ago.

Thoughts of suicide in the entire sample are higher than elsewhere. 2.8 percent reported suicidal thoughts in a national adult study in 2009.

The study is considered to be one of the most detailed to date on mental health in the UK during the pandemic.

Professor Rory O'Connor, Chair of Health Psychology at the University's Institute of Health and Wellbeing who led the study, said, “Although public health measures such as lockdown were necessary to protect the general population, we know the implications of Covid-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of the population is likely to be profound and long-lasting.

"The results of our study, which particularly show the increasing incidence of suicidal ideation, especially among young adults, are worrying and show that we need to be vigilant about this risk group."

Younger adults were more likely to report thoughts of suicide and higher levels of depressive symptoms than people aged 30 to 59 and over 60 years of age.

The 30 to 59 year olds reported higher rates than those over 60.

People with a lower socio-economic background were more likely to have thoughts of suicide than people in higher socio-economic groups.

And those with pre-existing mental illness reported more thoughts of suicide than those without.

More than one in four respondents, 26.1 percent, had at least moderate depressive symptoms. It is not clear how much this increased during the period under study.

Despite the increase in suicidal thoughts and depression, other factors related to suicide risk, such as anxiety symptoms, decreased over the same period.

Participants were followed up throughout the pandemic. Further results will be published in the coming months.

Professor O & # 39; Connor said, “As we move through this pandemic, studying the history of mental health and wellbeing is critical to giving us a better understanding of the challenges people face at this difficult time facing.

"Through such analysis and information, we can formulate targeted mental health measures and interventions for those most in need while this pandemic continues and prepared for the future."

Dr. Liz Scowcroft, head of the Samaritans Research and Evaluation Department, said: "The results of this study are strong and leave no doubt that Covid-19 has had an adverse impact on the country's mental health.

“It is important to remember, however, that an increase in suicides is not inevitable. Suicide is preventable and these results show that it is more important than ever that effective support is available to those who need it most.

"As we continue to move through the pandemic, reaching out to those who are struggling to deal with it and encouraging them to seek help before they reach the crisis point is a priority for us."

For confidential assistance, call the Samaritans on 116 123.

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