According to a new report from Cardiff University, COVID-19 has increased mental health issues in Wales.
The report, carried out by academics at the Wales Governance Centre, has revealed that the share of people in Wales experiencing severe mental issues had increased from 11.7% to 28.1% by April 2020.
The report found that those hardest hit were young people, low-income earners, and individuals from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The mental health inequality between those on low and high incomes widened significantly, and on average, women demonstrated worse levels of mental health after the onset of the pandemic compared to men.
Young people aged 16-24 experienced an incredible mental toll due to the pandemic, with their average indicator worsening by 24% relative to the pre-COVID period.
Overall, more than two-thirds of young people in Wales have felt their mental health has deteriorated. 90% of those who said their mental health had worsened in 2020 stated feeling of loneliness as the main cause.
Jesús Rodríguez, Research Assistant on the Centre’s Wales Fiscal Analysis programme and the report’s author, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on mental health across the Welsh population.”
“And while no group has fared particularly well in terms of their mental health, women, younger adults, low-income earners and individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have experienced worse outcomes. The mental health gap between the wealthiest and poorest has also widened during the pandemic, and we expect significant demands for mental health services for years to come.”
“We know that these kinds of mental health impacts can negatively influence an individual’s future education, employment and health outcomes, and so, significant resources will be required for mental health services going forward."