While the nationwide lockdown promised to protect physical health, it has put the mental health of many at risk as per recent findings
A new study published has explored the detrimental impact of lockdown on the mental health of informal carers. Most of whom are female, these carers look after adults and children with intellectual disabilities. With depression and anxiety being two common mental health conditions, informal carers of disabled people were more prone to be diagnosed than other carers.
The team that carried out this online study consisted of two members of the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham, Dr Biza Stenfert Kroese and Professor John Rose, led by Professor Paul Willner from Swansea University. Researchers from the universities of Warwick and Kent were also part of this collaborative investigation.
Of the several findings from the 244 surveys carried out during the pandemic, 31% of these specific carers had experienced major depression as opposed to 3% of parents of children without any disabilities. Reportedly, carers of people with special needs received the least social support from next-door neighbours, friends and local support groups, noting how the lockdown created an adverse environment for them.
Pre-lockdown statistical levels had been significantly lower. Professor Willner explained how the findings reflect the ‘amplified existing inequalities’ that have been shown through the pandemic.
A few suggestions made by the authors advocate for greater emphasis on the importance of mental health, improved remotely accessible services for support, and peer support groups. While Professor Willner acknowledged the importance of the role of informal carers in our community, Dr Kroese hoped the findings of this research will encourage future governmental policies aimed at supporting this social group.
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