When Nicola Cooper, 34, from Nantwich, Cheshire, found out she would have to stay confined to her household during lockdown, the thought immediately caused her anxiety to spike. In addition to being immunocompromised due to having Crohn’s disease and diabetes, she has bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, OCD and PTSD, having struggled with her mental health since she was a teenager.
“When I found out I’d have to stay at home for a long time, my anxiety skyrocketed because it was such a new thing and no one knew what was happening or how long it would last,” Cooper tells The Independent. “It was out of my control, and the routines I worked so hard at were thrown into disarray.”
Ever since lockdown was established across the UK on Monday 23 March, people’s everyday routines have changed drastically. While Boris Johnson announced a gradual easing of certain restrictions in England on Sunday 10 May, the lockdown and social distancing measures remain in place, and they’re having an enormous impact on people’s mental health.
According to a recent study of 2,000 adults conducted by wellbeing brand Healthspan, the average adult’s anxiety and stress levels has increased by almost 50 per cent in recent weeks. Research published by global children’s charity Plan International UK found that around 40 per cent of girls in the UK feel their mental health has worsened since lockdown was established, while a survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation concluded that almost a quarter of adults in the UK feel lonely amid the lockdown.