Anxiety was the most common Mental Health condition experienced by 5.5 million Australians (26.3%) in the lockdown period, up sharply by over 1.1 million Australians from the 4.4 million (20.9%) reporting suffering from anxiety in the pre COVID-19 period during the March quarter.
Interestingly the second most common Mental Health condition, Stress, increased only marginally during the lockdown period reported by 5.4 million Australians (25.5%), up from 5.3 million (25.0%) in the pre-COVID-19 period.
Of great concern is that there was a sharp rise in Australians suffering from depression during the lockdown period reported by over 3.8 million Australians (18.2%), up around 500,000 from 3.3 million (15.9%) earlier in the year.
These findings are derived from the latest Roy Morgan health research into illnesses and medical conditions spanning over a decade from detailed in-depth interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.
% of Australians experiencing leading Mental Health conditions June quarter 2020 (nation-wide lockdown) cf. March quarter 2020 (pre COVID-19 lockdown)
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January – March 2020, n=10,852 and April – June 2020, n=17,260. Base: Australians 14+.
Mental Health issues had a big impact on younger Australians during lockdown
Comparing the prevalence of Mental Health conditions by generation during the nationwide lockdown in the June quarter 2020 shows younger Australians were far more likely to have experienced Stress, Anxiety or Depression than their older counterparts.
Nearly half (45.8%) of Generation Z, the youngest generation born from 1991-2006, experienced a Mental Health condition in the lockdown period led by Anxiety (30.8%), Stress (29.6%) and Depression (20.1%).
Close behind are the 45.6% of Millennials, born from 1976-1990, reporting a Mental Health condition led by Stress (30.9%), Anxiety (30.6%) and Depression (18.6%).
Over two-fifths of Generation X (42.7%) experienced a Mental Health condition in the lockdown period led by Anxiety (28.2%), Stress (26.5%) and Depression (20.8%).
There was a significantly lower prevalence of Mental Health conditions among older generations with under a third of Baby Boomers (30.5%) and around a quarter of Pre-Boomers (25.3%) reporting experiencing a Mental Health condition during the period of the nation-wide lockdown.
Leading Mental Health conditions by generation – June quarter 2020 (nation-wide lockdown)
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, April – June 2020, n=17,260. Base: Australians 14+.
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the nation-wide lockdown in the June quarter 2020 led to spikes in Mental Health conditions – particularly Anxiety and Depression:
“Over two fifths of Australians (40.5%) reported experiencing a Mental Health condition in the June quarter 2020 when the nation-wide lockdown closed down Australia for the majority of the quarter, up from 36.8% in the March quarter 2020 before the lockdowns were instituted.
“The biggest increase was for Anxiety which was reported by over a quarter of all Australians (26.3%) during the nation-wide lockdown – up a huge 5.4% over the pre COVID-19 March quarter and representing 1.1 million more Australians reporting Anxiety.
“Those most likely to report Anxiety during the nation-wide lockdown are the three youngest generations with 30.8% of Generation Z, 30.6% of Millennials and 28.2% of Generation X reporting Anxiety compared to only 12.6% of Pre-Boomers and 18% of Baby Boomers.
“Depression also soared during the nationwide lockdown with an extra 500,000 Australians reporting suffering from Depression. Over a fifth of Generation X (20.8%) and Generation Z (20.1%) reported feeling Depression in the June quarter.
“Today’s news that Pfizer’s vaccine may be 90% effective in stopping the transmission of COVID-19 gives hope that further lockdowns will not be required in 2021. The Pfizer vaccine is one of several vaccines the Australian Government has a signed agreement to purchase if successful.
“The devastating impacts on the Mental Health of Australians during lockdowns shows that while the ‘blunt instrument’ of a lockdown can be successful in suppressing and eliminating the spread of COVID-19 there are potentially long-lasting negative impacts on the Mental Health of all those enduring weeks, and months, of lockdowns. The second lockdown in Victoria which ended recently lasted nearly four months from July – October.
“Contact Roy Morgan to learn more about how Mental Health conditions impact on Australians and what the increasing rates of Stress, Anxiety and Depression during 2020 are telling us about the health of the Australian community now and into a ‘COVID-normal’ future.”
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