Coronavirus (COVID-19): mental health tracker study - wave 1 report
Findings of wave 1 of the Scottish COVID-19 (SCOVID) Mental Health Tracker Study based on questionnaire data collected between 28 May and 21 June 2020 (a period which coincided with the Phase 1 easing of lockdown measures).
The objective of this report is to present findings of Wave 1 of the Scottish COVID-19 (SCOVID) Mental Health Tracker Study. These findings are based on questionnaire data collected between 28th May and 21st June 2020 (a period which coincided with the Phase 1 easing of lockdown measures in Scotland) and draws on a nationally representative sample of 2514 adults. The primary focus of this report is the mental health and wellbeing outcomes as reported by these respondents, as well as other lifestyle factors which describe the circumstances and experiences of these respondents at the time of the questionnaire. Wave 1 of the SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study shows that 35.7% of the sample reported high levels of psychological distress and a possible psychiatric disorder (based on responses to the GHQ-12: General Health Questionnaire). Just over a quarter of the sample (25.3%) reported levels of depressive symptoms indicating a possible need for treatment, and nearly a fifth (19.1%) reported anxiety symptoms of a similar level. Furthermore, 10.2% of respondents reported suicidal thoughts within the week prior to the Wave 1 survey, with 3.6% thinking about suicide more than half of the days during that week. Although there is no directly comparable pre-COVID-19 data available, the findings indicate that participants are reporting higher rates of psychological distress than might have been expected in non-COVID-19 pandemic circumstances. For example, in the Wave 1 SCOVID Mental Health Tracker Study, 35.7% of the sample were found to have high levels of psychological distress based on responses to the GHQ 12: General Health Questionnaire. This compares with only 17% of the 2019 Scottish Health Survey sample (McLean et al., 2019) and 29.2% of participants in the UK-based Understanding Society COVID-19 Study conducted in late April 2020 (Li and Wang, 2020). It is important to note that this report suggests that particular subgroups within the sample are reporting higher levels of mental health problems and financial concerns during Wave 1 than the sample average. These groups are: young adults (18-29 years), women, individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, and individuals in the lower socio-economic group. Respondents who identified as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) also frequently reported worse mental health indicators, however it must be noted that the sample size for respondents who identified as BAME is quite small, and therefore, the findings should be treated with caution.
Scottish COVID-19 (SCOVID) Mental Health Tracker Study: Wave 1 Report 70 page PDF, 1.1 MB
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