Medichecks State of the Nation report reveals the effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health

Young adults in the UK report the highest levels of stress and anxiety as a result of the pandemic, according to Medichecks, a Nottingham-based home healthcare testing provider. Of the 2,000 adults who participated in the company’s State of the Nation study, 43% reported higher stress levels compared to their mental state pre-lockdown. Medichecks researchers noted a significant age group difference when it came to increased stress during the lockdown. 61% of 18 to 24 year-olds admitted to experiencing more stress as opposed to 25% of over 65 year-olds. 

Factors for increased stress

A lack of social interaction is a clear factor, as noted by the Medichecks report, which found that 61% of the respondents highlighted lack of social interaction as a factor for a worsening of their mental health levels. Other factors included anxiety about coronavirus (56%), family concerns (48%), news (39%) and income (31%). 

Dr Liza Thomas-Emrus, who works alongside Medichecks and is a Mind-Body-Medicine Specialist, explains:

“We found a substantial age gap when analysing the mental health impact of lockdown. While overall 27% reported that they’d struggle to cope with a second peak, this rises to 41% of 18 to 24’s. Less social interaction, an inevitable consequence of social distancing, is clearly a factor. It’s possible that older members of the community are more conditioned to isolation and therefore felt the impact of lockdown less keenly than younger adults.”

Overall, 27% said they would struggle with a second lockdown and 31% of 25 to 34 year-olds would change their living arrangements and enter lockdown in a different household. 

Improving mental health during the pandemic

Making lifestyle changes such as having a healthy diet and exercising regularly is essential when it comes to improving mental health. Indeed, 40% of the participants reported eating healthier during the pandemic and 44% revealed they exercised more often than before in the UK. It is also vital to create a healthy life/work balance, a factor that is becoming increasingly important as more and more people work from home. 48% of the respondents said they would prioritize their family over work commitments in the future and 58% would want to work from home because of the flexibility this offers. A perhaps unexpected tool to help combat stress and anxiety is humour, according to recent scientific findings. Experts recommend having a proper “belly-laugh” at least once a day which not only promotes relaxation but also helps people stay more resilient in the face of challenges.