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Tiers will make us anxious and depressed

Tiers will make us anxious and depressed: Harmful effects of new restrictions could hit mental health and increase domestic abuse, officials warn

  • The assessment warned of an increase in alcohol use, anxiety and depression 
  • Working at home is likely to increase back problems and accidents in the house
  • For adults, physical activity will be lower and alcohol consumption higher 

The tier system will have harmful effects on mental health and will increase domestic abuse and self-harm, officials warned yesterday.

A Government assessment of the impact of the tiers warned of an increase in alcohol use, anxiety and depression.

Working from home is also likely to increase back problems and accidents in the house, the document suggests.

Summarising the effects, the paper says: ‘The health effects reach far beyond the death and suffering from Covid-19 itself but also come from knock-on implications on other health services, the impacts of restrictions on our mental health and physical wellbeing, the links between the economy, deprivation and health outcomes.’

The tier system will have harmful effects on mental health and will increase domestic abuse and self-harm, officials warned yesterday. Working from home is also likely to increase back problems

It warns of ‘negative impacts on mental health, lower physical activity, increased home accidents and increased musculoskeletal disorders’.

Most worryingly, it also predicts a rise in anxiety, depression and self-harm among children, as well as a rise in child malnutrition.

‘Emerging data from the March/April lockdown period provides growing evidence that interventions… including closures of education settings, are likely to have had an adverse effect on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people,’ the report says.

For adults, physical activity will be lower and alcohol consumption higher, it adds, and says unemployment and money issues will cause physical and mental health problems.

Data showed a ‘sharp increase’ in anxiety in March, fuelled by fears about money, unemployment and access to food.

Loneliness is also likely to cause health issues, with the document saying: ‘The higher the tier, the greater the likely impact on isolation, although care and support bubbles provide some mitigation.

‘The need for social interaction may be greater during periods of adversity.’

It says the number of higher-risk drinkers increased during the first lockdown and predicted alcohol consumption would rise again.

Data showed a 'sharp increase' in anxiety in March, fuelled by fears about money, unemployment and access to food

Data showed a ‘sharp increase’ in anxiety in March, fuelled by fears about money, unemployment and access to food

The impact on health of economic issues is a further concern. ‘There is evidence that a persistent, long-term economic downturn would carry negative health consequences,’ it says. ‘The relationship between deprivation, health outcomes, co-morbidities [having more than one illness] and risk factors are well documented.

‘There are persistent differences in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy between the least and most deprived areas.’

Home workers are more likely to get sore necks and backs by using furniture not designed to be used in an office.

While people cooked more during the first lockdown, there was also a ‘marked increase’ in snacking which could also have an impact on their health, according to the report.

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