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Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on well-being


Personal well-being measures remained stable (8 to 19 September 2021), but all remain worse than their pre-pandemic (February 2020) levels. One in five adults experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March, Great Britain), more than double that seen before the pandemic.

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Well-being

Well-being measures remain worse than their pre-pandemic levels

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to September 2021

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Personal well-being measures remained stable (8 to 19 September 2021). However, scores for these measures remain worse than their pre-pandemic levels (February 2020).

These scores are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is "not at all" and 10 is "completely".

Last updated: 24/09/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain

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Almost 6 in 10 (57%) of adults who may have experienced long COVID reported it had negatively affected their general well-being. Ability to exercise (39%) and work (30%, this was 38% among working adults only) were the next most common ways such adults reported long COVID was negatively affecting their life.

Adults with long COVID include those that have had a positive test for COVID-19 or believed they have had COVID-19 and responded either “yes” or “not sure” to the question ‘Have you experienced “long COVID”?’.

Last updated: 21/07/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and the social impacts of ‘long COVID’ on people’s lives in Great Britain: 7 April to 13 June 2021

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All personal well-being levels were poorer among those who reported experiencing long COVID

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Adults who reported they may have experienced long COVID had poorer personal well-being levels compared with those who had short COVID or not had COVID. This difference was greatest for anxiety levels, with 4.6 for those who had long COVID compared with 3.8 for those who had short COVID or not had COVID. Those experiencing long COVID also had lower mean life satisfaction, feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile, and happiness.

Those who had long COVID were also more likely to report being often or always lonely (10%) than those who had short COVID (6%) or not had COVID (6%).

Last updated: 21/07/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and the social impacts of ‘long COVID’ on people’s lives in Great Britain: 7 April to 13 June 2021

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Mental health

Suicide rates decreased in the early months of the pandemic

  • There was an 18% decrease in suicides that occurred between April and July 2020 in England and Wales, when compared with the same period in 2019.

  • There were 1,603 suicides between April and July, which is equivalent to an age-standardised mortality rate of 9.2 per 100,000 people.

  • The drop in suicides was mainly driven by decrease in male suicide rates.

  • The age-specific suicide rate decreased for most age groups compared with the same period in the previous year.

Last updated: 02/09/2021 

Read more about this in Deaths from suicide that occurred in England and Wales between April and July 2020

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Further information


In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey was adapted to collect data on the social impacts of the pandemic. It includes insight into the impact of the pandemic on people's well-being. The data shows these impacts among different parts of our society, for example, on people of different age, sex, health or from regions. Data are collected using an online self-completion questionnaire. The results are weighted to be a representative sample for Great Britain.

To find out more about well-being data visit our more information page.

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Contact

Latest insights team
infection.survey.analysis@ons.gov.uk