Over 40% of people rate their overall satisfaction with life as low, while almost 60% say their mental health and wellbeing has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, new findings have shown.
According to the latest survey on wellbeing undertaken by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 57% of people report that their mental health has been negatively affected by the pandemic.
In February 2021, 41% rated their overall satisfaction with life as low, while 20% of those aged between 18 and 34 said they were downhearted or depressed ‘all or most of the time'.
Some 61% of people believe that once the current level 5 restrictions are eased, similar restrictions will be reimposed before the end of the year.
The CSO findings also revealed that in November 2020, almost 40% of people thought that by November 2021, their lives would return to something similar to what it was pre-COVID. However, by February 2021, just 23% of people now believe this will happen by November.
Meanwhile in February 2021, 75% of people said that their compliance with current Government advice and guidelines was high, compared to 65% of people in November 2020.
According to CSO senior statistician, Gerry Reilly, these findings "serve to highlight the impact that COVID-19 is having on wellbeing".
In February 2021, 41.7% of respondents rated their overall life satisfaction as low. This is the highest rating for low overall life satisfaction captured in CSO surveys to date.
"In 2013, when many households were suffering the effects of the 2007 financial crisis, this rate was 15.3% and it dropped to 8.7% in 2018 when the economy was growing strongly. In April 2020, during the first COVID-19 wave, 29.6% respondents rated their overall life satisfaction as low. The rate increased to 35.6% in November 2020, during the second COVID-19 wave," he explained.
He noted that the percentage of respondents that felt downhearted or depressed 'all or most of the time' in the four-week period prior to interview was 5.5% during the first COVID-19 wave in April 2020.
"This rate increased to 11.5% during the second wave in November 2020 and the rate during the third wave (February 2021) is 15.1%. Analysis by age shows that in February 2021, 20.5% of respondents aged 18 to 34 reported being downhearted or depressed ‘all or most of the time' compared with 5.7% of those aged 70 years and over," Mr Reilly said.
He also pointed out that almost 17% of female respondents felt lonely ‘all or most of the time' in the four-week period prior to interview compared with 9.2% of male respondents.
"Respondents living in rented accommodation were twice as likely to report feeling lonely ‘all or most of the time' than those in owner-occupied dwellings -22.2% vs 10.3%," he added.
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