COVID-19 resources

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Report 07: changes in parents’ mental health symptoms and stressors from April to December 2020

University of Oxford

This report focuses on parent/carers’ self-reported mental health symptoms and stressors at monthly intervals from April to December 2020. To date, over 12,500 parents/carers and 1,300 adolescents have taken part in the Co-SPACE survey at baseline. We continue to collect data at baseline and on a monthly basis. This report provides an overview of monthly data from 6,246 parents/carers. These participants completed the survey at least once between 17/04/20202 and 31/12/2020. Key findings include: parental stress and depression were elevated during the first lockdown (when most children were home-schooled) and reduced when the lockdown restrictions eased in the summer.; however, parental stress, depression, and anxiety increased between November and December (when new national restrictions were introduced); parents/carers from certain households have been particularly vulnerable to elevated mental health symptoms, with higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety reported by parents from single adult households and low-income families, as well as those who have children with SEN/ND; parents who had any young children (10 years or younger) living in the home reported particularly high levels of stress symptoms during the first lockdown and around a third (36%) of them were stressed about their children's behaviour at that time (in contrast to 28% of those with older children only); parents who had older children only (11 years or older) reported more depression symptoms, especially during the summer. On average, 43% were stressed about their children's education and future (in contrast to 32% of those with young children).

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Loneliness, social isolation and COVID-19

Local Government Association

This briefing provides advice for Directors of Public Health and those leading the response to loneliness and social isolation issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The advice highlights the importance in intervening early to tackle loneliness and social isolation to prevent more costly health and care needs from developing, as well as helping community resilience and recovery. This can only be done at the local level through partnerships, with councils playing a role, as they own most of the assets where community action could or should take place, such as parks, libraries and schools. A table summarises the main risk factors of loneliness and social isolation, including those specific to COVID-19. It then briefly sets out councils’ role in working with partners and using community assets to address and help prevent loneliness and social isolation; looks at the steps councils were taking prior to the pandemic; and the changes that may be needed as a result of COVID-19 and opportunities to embed positive changes, such as greater awareness about the impact of personal behaviours on mental wellbeing.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

A snapshot of poverty in Winter 2020

Bevan Foundation

Presents data gathered by YouGov through a national online survey in early December, highlighting the economic impact of the pandemic and how it has affected people across Welsh society. Nearly a quarter of Welsh households, 328,000 households, have seen their incomes fall since the start of the pandemic. At the same time households have seen a number of key living costs increase including 41% seeing an increase in the cost of heating, electric and/ or water and 38% seeing an increase in the cost of food. Whilst the economic impact of the pandemic has hit people across Welsh society, it is the poorest households who have been most greatly impacted, with many forced to cut back on essentials or forced to borrow money. Many are fearful that they will have to continue to do so over the next three months. The data shows that there is broad public support for the Welsh Government to take greater action to invest in both short term and long term solutions to poverty. Among the measures that there is popular support from the public for are provision of emergency support for struggling families (74% in favour) funding for young people aged 16-18 who want to continue in education or training (67%) investment to close the attainment gap (67%) and the construction of more social homes (63%) in favour, additional support with Council Tax (56%) and a cap on social rents (55%).

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

COVID-19 Adult Safeguarding Insight Project: findings and discussion

Local Government Association

Findings of a project aimed at creating a national picture about safeguarding adults’ activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is based on the analysis of data submitted on a voluntary basis by local authorities; in all, 92 councils participated in the insight project – over 60 per cent of single tier and county councils in England. In general, safeguarding concerns dropped markedly during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown period, only to return to and then exceed normal levels in June 2020. The trend of Section 42 enquiries showed a similar decline during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown period and upturn in June, although the June upturn was not as great. The effects of COVID-19 and lockdown on safeguarding activity are localised and may vary across England as the pandemic impacted the country unevenly. The percentage distribution of types of abuse within Section 42 enquiries did not appear to change considerably overall, although there is some evidence that some forms of abuse, particularly domestic abuse, increased slightly overall and significantly within some councils, as well as psychological abuse and self-neglect. The percentage of Section 42 enquiries where the risk is located in the individual’s own home has increased markedly since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period, with evidence from participants that this is a direct result of the confinement of people in their homes. During the lockdown period, while dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, some councils developed innovations in their practices and systems. Examples provided by participating councils in the qualitative data, are described in this report.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

The Health Foundation COVID-19 survey: third poll: a report of survey findings

The Health Foundation

This polling data looks at the public’s attitudes towards the impact of coronavirus and Government’s handling of the pandemic. The data shows a number of changes in the public’s perceptions on these issues since July and May 2020, when the first two rounds of this polling by Ipsos MORI were carried out. The survey highlights the public’s strong support for the £20 a week increase in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit for families during the pandemic (74%), with only one in ten opposing it (9%). The majority of the public support making the increase permanent (59%), with one in five opposing this (20%). The public’s concern about the risk of COVID-19 to the health and wellbeing of the nation remains high, with 86% saying they are concerned. However, the public are even more concerned about the knock-on impact of the coronavirus on lifestyles and the economy (94%). In relation to social care, nearly half (46%) think that some level of means testing for social care, in comparison with an NHS that is ‘free at the point of use’, is fair. A significant minority of 39% think this is unfair. However, fewer think it is unfair than in May, perhaps as the initial impact of the pandemic on social care recedes from the public consciousness. The survey shows many aspects of the coronavirus pandemic have had a negative impact on people’s mental health. In particular, 73% say that worry about family and friends catching the virus is having a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. Public support for the UK government's response to the pandemic has deteriorated. Only 39% of the public think the government has handled the pandemic well, a fall of 21 percentage points from 60% in May.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Loneliness annual report: the second year

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

This report provides an update on progress on implementing the commitments in the cross-government loneliness strategy ‘A connected society: a strategy for tackling loneliness’, published in 2018. COVID-19 has meant making some changes to the programme of work that the Government expected to deliver in 2020, as set out in ‘Loneliness annual report: the first year'. This report sets out the work on COVID-19 over the past year and plans for the future. In particular, it focuses on focus our work around three objectives: reducing stigma by building the national conversation on loneliness, so that people feel able to talk about loneliness and reach out for help; drive a lasting shift so that relationships and loneliness are considered in policy-making and delivery by organisations across society, supporting and amplifying the impact of organisations that are connecting people; and playing a part in improving the evidence base on loneliness, making a compelling case for action, and ensuring everyone has the information they need to make informed decisions through challenging times. Case studies of projects are included.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Mental health and wellbeing amongst people with informal caring responsibilities across different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based propensity score matching analysis

medRxiv

Aims. Due to a prolonged period of national and regional lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increase reliance on informal care and a consequent increase in care intensity for informal carers. In light of this, the current study compared the experiences of carers and non-carers on various mental health and wellbeing measures across 5 key time points during the pandemic. Methods. Data analysed were from the UCL COVID -19 Social Study. Our study focused on 5 time points in England: (i) the first national lockdown (March-April 2020; N=12,053); (ii) the beginning of lockdown rules easing (May 2020; N=24,374); (iii) further easing (July 2020; N=21,395); (iv) new COVID-19 restrictions (September 2020; N=4,792); and (v) the three-tier system restrictions (October 2020; N=4,526). This study considered 5 mental health and wellbeing measures- depression, anxiety, loneliness, life satisfaction and sense of worthwhile. Propensity score matching were applied for the analyses. Results. This study found that informal carers experienced higher levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety than non-carers across all time points. During the first national lockdown, carers also experienced a higher sense of life being worthwhile. No association was found between informal caring responsibilities and levels of loneliness and life satisfaction. Conclusion. Given that carers are an essential national health care support, especially during a pandemic, it is crucial to integrate carers' needs into healthcare planning and delivery. These results highlight there is a pressing need to provide adequate and targeted mental health support for carers during and following this pandemic. [Note: This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.]

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: interim report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act: Government response to the Committee’s first report: second special report of session 2019–20

House of Commons

This memorandum sets out the Government’s response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s interim report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act and the use of these for disabled people. It considers the recommendations made by the Committee in relation to three measures introduced under the Coronavirus Act 2020: Care Act easements, changes to the Mental Health Act and modifications to education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment and plan processes. The Government welcomes the Committee’s interim recommendations as well as the wider inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 for disabled people. Several actions (outlined in full in this document) have been taken to achieve an appropriate balance between responding to the pandemic and ensuring that disabled people have access to the services they need. This includes ensuring transparency regarding Care Act easements, removing Mental Health Act provisions from the Coronavirus Act and deciding not to renew the modification notice regarding EHC assessments.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Estimating poverty impacts of coronavirus: microsimulation estimates

Institute for Public Policy Research

As a result of the pandemic, economic forecasters are expecting a huge surge in unemployment across the UK. And, as with other recessions, some workers may find they are working reduced hours. These economic shocks will have a profound impact on people’s livelihoods in the UK as incomes drop, even with the benefit system providing some income replacement in some cases. This analysis uses a microsimulation approach to estimate potential poverty impacts from these changes in the economy, focusing on the last quarter of 2020 when unemployment is expected to peak and the Job Retention Scheme is due to end. The research finds it highly plausible that over 1 million more people will be under the pre-Covid poverty line compared to a situation where the pandemic had not occurred, including 200,000 children, at the end of the year. The analysis suggests that the government will need to go further to prevent increases in child poverty – and much further in order to stem the rise in adult poverty – as a result of the crisis.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

Too many at-risk children are still invisible to social care

Children’s Commissioner for England

This briefing assesses the extent to which the pandemic and lockdown have contributed to making children at risk invisible to social services. Since March 2020 when schools closed at the start of the first national lockdown, more families have fallen into poverty and all the major risk factors to children – domestic violence, poor parental mental health, and alcohol/substance abuse – have heightened. At the same time there has been a significant fall (by 10% compared to the last 3 years) in referrals to children’s services as children became increasingly ‘invisible’ under Covid-19. Children have been out of school for most of the year, less likely to attend health services, and are less able to access informal support like children’s centres, many of which closed or moved online throughout the year. Many local authorities anticipated a spike in social care referrals in September with the school return. However, this spike did not occur. The latest data from the DfE showed that in November 2020, referrals were 12% lower than usual – despite schools being open at this time, so better able to identify vulnerable children. The current national lockdown and school closures risks even more at-risk children going undetected and not getting help. The response from councils to these alarming figures has been varied, with some taking insufficient action to find children who are suffering behind closed doors, despite statutory expectations to do this. Local authorities have also had access to emergency funding, although there are concerns that this has been focused on adult social care. The paper calls for all local areas to urgently and proactively work to identify vulnerable children who are not coming to the attention of services as they would usually do. Otherwise, children at risk in increasingly harmful situations will remain invisible to the system.

Last updated on hub: 25 January 2021

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