2. Overall Sample mental health outcomes
This section presents the findings regarding depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and mental wellbeing for the whole sample at each wave.
Wave 5 findings
Wave 5 cross-sectional findings show:
- 10.6% of respondents reported suicidal thoughts within the week prior to completing the Wave 5 survey,
- 21.7% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms,
- 18.2% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms, and
- The average mental wellbeing score was 22.08 (out of a possible score of 35).
Trends across the SCOVID study
Figure 2.1 illustrates mental health outcome trends (suicidal thoughts, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and the SWEMWBS wellbeing scores) across the SCOVID study. Looking at these trends across the waves in consideration of changes in pandemic restrictions indicates that the highest rates of depressive and anxiety symptoms were reported at Wave 1 (Spring 2020), a time that coincided with Phase 1 of easing of lockdown in Scotland, but when restrictions were still in place.
Findings from Wave 5 (Summer 2021) suggest that there was some improvement in mental health for the whole sample, and this coincided with a time when a lockdown had ended, and the vaccine programme was underway. For example, rates of depressive symptoms were lower than at most previous waves, mental wellbeing was higher, and suicidal thoughts were about the same as at Wave 1. In contrast, rates of anxiety symptoms were higher than the previous three waves, suggesting there was still an impact upon people's mental health. The lowest rates of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts were found at Wave 3 (Autumn 2020), which coincided with the gradual increasing of restrictions.
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