Wave 7 summary: late August 2020

7th Oct 2020

Six months into COVID-19 restrictions and similar proportions of people are struggling with their mental health compared to those of late July.

Specifically, as of late August 2020:

  • Almost half (45%) of the UK population had felt anxious or worried in the previous two weeks 
  • Nearly one in five people (18%) reported feeling lonely in the previous two weeks 
  • Similarly, the same proportion of people (18%) had felt afraid
  • 15% of the population reported feeling hopeless, whilst just over one in ten (11%) stated that they had been panicked in the previous two weeks 
  • The proportion of people who had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings in the previous two weeks was also steady at approximately 10%
Wave 7 cover

Generally, two-thirds (64%) of the people feel that they are coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related stress very well or fairly well:

  • There has however been a slow decline since April in the populations’ ability to cope with the stress of the pandemic from 73% to 64% in late August 
  • Throughout our study the proportion of Young People reporting they are coping very well or fairly well as the restrictions has also continued to decline – from 64% in April to 56% in this Wave 
  • Of those who reported not coping with this stress well (14% overall), those who have pre-existing mental health condition(s) were more likely to not be coping very well or not at all well (32%
  • Just over a quarter (27%) of unemployed also stated that they had not been coping very well or not well at all in previous two weeks

The study shows that almost nine out of ten (87%) of those who have experienced stress as a result of the pandemic reported that they were doing at least one activity to cope with the stress:

  • For 59% of the population, going for a walk outside helped them cope with the stress of the pandemic in the previous two weeks
  • Being able to visit green spaces helped for 50% of the population
  • For nearly half of adults, contacting family (47%) and friends (46%) helped them cope with the stress of the pandemic. Contacting family as a way of coping in the previous two weeks was highest for those over 70 years old (64%
  • Maintaining a health lifestyle (e.g. balanced diet, enough sleep, exercise etc) was reported by 39% of the population as helping them cope with the stress of the pandemic in the previous two weeks. Women were more likely to use this activity to cope (41% to 36% of men)

The percentage of the population who had drank more in the previous two weeks due to the stress of the pandemic has slowly dropped from a high of 40% in Wave 4 to 34% in late August. Similarly, the number of adults who stated that they had eaten too much to cope with the stress has declined from 27% at Wave 3 to 19% in the previous two weeks.


Please note:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4251 UK adults 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26 to 28 August 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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