Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications The mental health effects of the first two months of lockdown during the COVID‐19 pandemic in the UK

The mental health effects of the first two months of lockdown during the COVID‐19 pandemic in the UK

Journal article | Fiscal Studies, Volume 41, Issue 3

In this paper, we estimate the effects of the COVID‐19 pandemic on mental health in the UK. We use longitudinal micro data for the UK over the period 2009–20 to control for pre‐existing trends in mental health and construct individual‐specific counterfactual predictions for April 2020, against which the COVID‐19 mental health outcomes can be assessed. Our analysis reveals substantial effects at the population level, approximately equal in magnitude to the pre‐pandemic differences between the top and bottom quintiles of the income distribution. This overall effect was not distributed equally in the population – the pandemic had much bigger effects for young adults and for women, which are groups that already had lower levels of mental health before COVID‐19. Hence inequalities in mental health have been increased by the pandemic. Even larger effects are observed for measures of mental health that capture the number of problems reported or the fraction of the population reporting any frequent or severe problems, which more than doubled. Pre‐existing health vulnerabilities had no predictive power for subsequent changes in mental health.

Deaton inequality website

More on this topic

This report examines the effect that variation in the cost of living has on the labour supply of existing nurses in NHS acute trusts. Retention of nursing staff within the NHS is a key policy issue. Pay policy – and the ability that trusts and nurses have to react to local working conditions and ...
Press release
Improving the retention of NHS staff has been a long-term policy challenge, and will be of even greater importance in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. A new report by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Imperial College London, as part of the National Institute for Health ...
Newspaper article
Hancock is just the latest in a very long line to grasp for that illusion of control. One day, probably in a decade or so, one of his successors will be so burnt by the experience of attempting to achieve the impossible that another re-disorganisation will be visited upon a system still doing its ...