According to a recent survey, the number of young adults in England who report experiencing psychological distress has increased. As per study, 1 in 5 people between the ages of 18 and 24 reported having severe distress at the end of 2022, up from 1 in 7 in 2021.
According to the research, reports of extreme psychological distress increased across all age groups, with the exception of those over 65. Experts have pointed to the pandemic, cost of living and healthcare crisis.
Researchers used a point-based score during telephone interviews to assess severe distress for the survey. People had not necessarily sought clinical help or a diagnosis at this point. The research team, including academics from King’s College London and University College London (UCL), say the rise in reports needs to be urgently addressed.
Dr. Leonie Brose from King’s stated, “Over the last three years, a series of unprecedented events have contributed to a deterioration in people’s mental health, including a pandemic, a cost of living crisis, and a healthcare crisis.”
“Our study shows that England’s wellbeing is steadily getting worse.
“What’s required now is a strategy that puts equality, wellbeing and sustainability at the heart of society’s response.”
Between April 2020 and December 2022, researchers conducted a monthly telephone survey involving a total of 51,800 adults. Each month, they asked a new group of adults about the frequency of experiencing negative feelings in the last 30 days, including worthlessness, hopelessness, nervousness, and feeling so depressed that nothing could cheer them up.
Participants rated their feelings on a five-point scale, with higher scores categorizing them in the severe category. Overall, the proportion of people reporting severe distress increased from 5.7% to 8.3%, with some groups affected more than others, including participants from low-income backgrounds.
Meanwhile, the proportion of adults reporting any distress was about a third during this time – it dipped to 28% in May 2021 and rose back to 32% by the end of that year.
Commenting on the study, Prof Sir Simon Wessely, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences, King’s College London, said: “The strength of this study is that it is large, population based, and can look at trends over time.