COVID-19 Scotland Wave 6: Key Findings

People’s mental health responses to the pandemic appear to have changed little between June and early August with similar proportions of the Scottish population struggling with their mental health compared to those of mid-June. Specifically, as of late July: 

  • Nearly half of Scottish adults (49%) had reported feeling anxious or worried in the past 2 weeks
  • Just under a quarter of people (24%) had felt lonely in the past 2 weeks
  • One in 6 (16%) had feelings of hopelessness
  • One in eight people (12%) had felt 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 ten percent. 

As in earlier waves of our study, some demographic groups were more likely to report negative mental health effects:

  • Women were more likely than men to report feeling anxious, lonely, or hopeless
  • People who had a long-term health condition that limits them a lot, or who had a pre-existing mental health condition, were more likely to report feeling anxious than the overall population 
  • People who were unemployed and those who had a pre-existing mental health condition were more likely to report feeling hopeless than the overall population, with more than one quarter of unemployed people (26%) and those with a pre-existing mental health condition (27%) reporting feeling hopeless 
  • Full-time students and people who are unemployed were much more likely to report feeling lonely than the overall population, with 47% of full-time students and 33% of unemployed people reporting feeling lonely 
  • Younger Scottish people were significantly more likely to report feeling hopeless than older age groups, with 23% of 18-24 year olds and 24% of 25-34 year olds reporting feeling hopeless, compared to 19% of 45-54 year old sand 10% of people aged 55 and over:

As in the previous wave, we are observing the Scottish populations’ ability to cope with the stress of the pandemic continuing to decline:

  • The proportion of people who said nothing has helped them to cope with related stress has increased from 6% in late June to 9%.
  • A higher proportion of people with pre-existing mental health condition (34%), a long-term health condition that limits them a lot (27%), unemployed people (25%) and full-time students (25%) are not coping well compared to all Scottish adults (14%).

Worryingly, as in earlier waves of the survey, some groups were more likely to report having had suicidal thoughts or feelings in the previous two weeks: 

  • 10% of the overall Scottish adult population reported having experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings in the previous two weeks. 
  • Young people age 18-24 (21%) and age 25-34 (13%) were significantly more likely to report suicidal thoughts and feelings. These proportions are consistent with those reported in late June. The persistence of high numbers of young people reporting suicidal thoughts is of very serious concern
  • Full-time students (23%) were significantly more likely to report suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • One in five unemployed people (22%) reported suicidal thoughts and feelings. This raises concern given the likely increase in unemployment due to the recession; and 
  • One in five people with a long-term health condition (24%) and more than one in four people with a pre-existing mental health condition (28%) reported suicidal thoughts and feelings. 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2041 Scottish adults 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th July - 3rd August 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).