One in four Scots have felt isolated due to coronavirus

A major study tracking mental health during the pandemic has revealed one in four adults in Scotland have felt lonely because of coronavirus.

By Julie Currie
Friday, 24th April 2020, 4:45 pm
One in four adults in Scotland have felt lonely because of coronavirus according to a major study which is tracking mental health across the pandemic. (Pic: Pixabay)
One in four adults in Scotland have felt lonely because of coronavirus according to a major study which is tracking mental health across the pandemic. (Pic: Pixabay)

The most affected group were young people aged from 18 to 24 – more than four in ten (43 per cent) said they felt lonely,

The next most affected group were adults aged 35-44 with almost one third (32 per cent) saying they had felt lonely, followed by one in six of older people aged over 55.

A new mental health and well-being campaign has been launched by the Scottish Government to help people cope during the pandemic.

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Clear Your Head highlights the practical things people can do to feel better while staying at home, while acknowledging these are worrying and uncertain times for many.

If the survey results are anything to go by, the campaign is perfectly timed.

Some 1028 Scots aged 18 and over were questioned as part of a UK-wide research project – Coronavirus: Mental Health and the Pandemic.

The research study was led by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Swansea University, University of Cambridge and Queen’s University Belfast.

Carried out on April 2 and 3, people were asked whether they had felt loneliness in the previous two weeks.

Lee Knifton, Mental Health Foundation Scotland director, said: “Our data reveals that hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland are experiencing feelings of loneliness – a key risk factor for developing or worsening mental health problems.

“The concern is that the longer the pandemic goes on for, the more feelings become long-term. The impact of long-term loneliness on mental health can be very hard to manage.

“That’s why we’re urging people to reach out to friends and family of all ages, particularly older and more vulnerable people at risk of isolation – and think about what steps we can take to help them stay connected.

“While the initial priority must be to prevent loss of life, we fear that we may be living with the mental health impacts of the coronavirus for many years to come.

“This is especially true of vulnerable groups and it is critical that governments are mindful of this in developing policy as we go forward.”

The charity welcomed the launch of the Clear Your Head campaign.

However, it has urged the Scottish Government to take action to protect the mental health of young people and older adults – the two groups most likely to be affected by loneliness and isolation – through public health campaigns and more investment in local peer support.

For advice on coping with life in lockdown, visit clearyourhead.scot.