Increase in people feeling downhearted or depressed between April and November this year

The Central Statistics Office has released findings of a survey in relation to ‘well being and lifestyle under level 5 restrictions’– a survey relative to the social impact of Covid-19 for the month of November 2020. Gavin Dalton examines the results of this survey.

Image source: Pikist

Published on the morning of the 30th of November, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) well-being survey shows some eye catching findings. 19.4% of workers spend less time commuting, which was an aspect of repondants’ lives that have changed for the better during the pandemic, whereas in contrast 11.5% of respondants reported feeling downhearted or depressed ‘all or most of the time’. 

The survey, which was carried out between Thursday November 12th and Wednesday November 18th, was based on a sample of 5,105 persons aged 18 and over. The survey availed of an online questionnaire to produce an achieved sample size of 1,585 individuals.

There were some findings that arose in relation to the appropriateness of the implementation of Level 5 to Covid-19 risk, in which one could argue were rather expected results. Over 71% of those who responded to the survey indicated that the level 5 response was appropriate, 18.3% were of the impression it was Too extreme, with 10.2% feeling it was not sufficient. Analysing the findings by age shows the likelihood of a respondent feeling that the Level 5 response was Appropriate increased with age, with 63.2% of respondents aged 18-34 agreeing that the Level 5 response was appropriate rising to 88.2% for those 70 and over. 

Some of the findings from the survey may raise cause for concern: The percentage of respondents that felt lonely All or Most of the time in the four-week period prior to interview doubled between April, when a similar survey was carried out and November 2020, from 6.8% to 13.7%, whilst the percentage of respondents that felt downhearted or depressed All or Most of the time in the four-week period prior to interview doubled between April and November 2020, from 5.5% to 11.5%.

Speaking of these specific increases, councillor Mairin McGrath isn’t overly surprised but remains hopeful for the year to come. Speaking to The City, she said: “When we look at the first lockdown compared to the 6 week lockdown we’ve just come out of, there’s been a huge difference. There was probably a novelty to the first lockdown and although we were kind of facing into the unknown, it was genuinely a very scary time for the country, people being at home, having the long days and the good weather to do your few DIY jobs around the house and spend time like it was Christmas with family, was probably something a lot of people enjoyed.

“And then when you compare the last 6 weeks we had in level 5 lockdown, it’s just been totally different. Much more grim in a sense. It wasn’t as much of a lockdown, life was still going on as normal for some people but I suppose the whole aspect of not being able to have that whole social outlet to look forward to, but I think people have grown more wary of the whole situation.

“It has been very challenging. I’m not one bit surprised that the figures are as they are. As a young councillor, I for one can see it first hand through my job, I can feel the struggles myself. Working hard all week and then having nothing to look forward to at the weekend, no place to go, no plans to look forward to as we head into Christmas especially. So look it’s been a challenging year for all, it has been difficult.”

Remaining positive for the approaching year, McGrath said: “The increase in figures doesn’t surprise me, but hopefully we can look forward to a better 2021 with lots of plans and get togethers with our friends.”

CSO statistical publication, 30 November 2020, 11am. Taken from the CSO website.

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