• Over half (51%) of the Scottish population had felt anxious or worried in the previous two weeks because of the pandemic. Women (59%), full-time students (61%), single parents (63%) and those who have a pre-existing mental health condition (69%) were population groups who appeared to be feeling more anxious or worried
• Almost a quarter of people (24%) reported feeling lonely in the previous two weeks
• Feelings of loneliness were higher amongst younger people too, with 36% and 37% of people aged 18-24 and 25-34 respectively. Feelings of loneliness have been consistently higher across all waves for young people than the general population
• Loneliness levels were also higher in people who are unemployed, full time students, single parents and people with a pre-existing mental health condition
• Like Wave 8 (late Nov), seeing family freely (25%) or seeing friends freely (16%) were highlighted as ways that would help alleviate people’s feelings of loneliness
• One in five (20%) of the population reported feeling hopeless and over half (52%) reported feeling frustrated in the previous two weeks
In general, 65% of people feel they are coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related stress very well or fairly well. Levels of coping with the COVID-19 restrictions and the impact this has on their mental health are only slightly higher than they were in November (63%).
• Of those who reported not coping with this stress well (17% overall); those 18-24yrs (26%), the unemployed (30%); and those who have pre-existing mental health condition(s) (34%) were more likely to be less likely to be coping
• Almost half (47%) reported that they feel worried about being able to cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic
What is helping people cope with the stress of the pandemic?
• For over half (53%) of the population, going for a walk outside helped them cope with the stress of the pandemic in the last two weeks. This has mostly been the top method of coping throughout the study’s 9 Waves
• Being able to visit green spaces helped over a third (39%)
• Doing a hobby also helped a third (34%)
• Contacting family (45%) and friends (41%) also helped people cope with the stress of the pandemic.
• Contacting family was the top coping method for those over 70 years old (63%), for people with a pre-existing mental health condition (43%) and for single parents (46%).
• Limiting exposure to COVID-19 news (30%) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (29%) (e.g. balanced diet, enough sleep, exercise etc.) were also cited as a popular coping methods to cope with the stress of COVID-19.
However, less helpful coping strategies have risen since late November. Specifically, as of December:
• 21% of the population said they were drinking more alcohol as a way of coping with the stress of the pandemic in the last two weeks. This is compared to 17% in wave eight.
• The amount who stated they had eaten too much as a way of coping with the stress of the pandemic had risen slightly in this wave to 36%.
The Scottish population continues to feel concerned and worried:
• Over half (52%) are worried about becoming ill with COVID-19 and almost two thirds (63%) are worried about passing on COVID-19 if they become sick with the virus
• Almost a third (29%) are worried about making their own existing mental health difficulties worse.
• Over a quarter (28%) have financial concerns
• Over half (55%) are worried about being separated from their family and friends.
Worries about their child(ren) continue to be present too:
• Nearly half (44%) are worried about the mental health of their child(ren) and how this is being impacted by the pandemic.
• Over a fifth (22%) are worried about looking after their child(ren) in case they get sick.
• Parents are more worried about how their child(ren)’s social development is being impacted (33%) opposed to their educational development (23%).
People anticipate a negative long-term impact of the pandemic on their future and the future of others
Feelings of uncertainty about the future have risen since late November. Specifically, as of December:
• Over half (56%) of adults are worried their future is going to be worse because of the pandemic
• Two thirds (65%) of adults are concerned that the future of others their age is going to be worse
• The proportions of adults who are worried about their own future are higher for people aged 18-24 (66%), those with pre-existing mental health conditions (63%) and full-time students (75%).
• The proportion of people who had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings in the previous two weeks was 13%, which was a slight decrease from 14% in wave eight.
• Figures were highest for people who are unemployed (31%), people with a pre-existing mental health condition (29%), single parents (25%), full time students (25%) and people aged 18-24 (23%).
• 10% who said they experienced these thoughts said they experienced them once or more a day.
• 6% of people aged 18-24 reported that they had deliberately hurt themselves, which was a slight decrease from 8% in wave eight.
• 6% of people who are unemployed and 8% of people with a pre-existing mental health condition reported that they had deliberately hurt themselves.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,031 Scottish adults 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th and the 30th December 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).