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


Levels of anxiety decreased slightly in the latest week (14 to 18 July 2021), after having appeared to gradually increase since early June (2 to 6 June). 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.

Well-being remains lower in students than in the adult population, with almost a third having used mental health and well-being services since the start of the Autumn 2020 term.

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Well-being

Anxiety levels improved slightly

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to July 2021

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Levels of anxiety decreased slightly to 3.8 this week (14 to 18 July 2021), from 4.0 last week, after having appeared to gradually increase since early June (2 to 6 June). Levels of life satisfaction (7.1), feeling that things done in life are worthwhile (7.3) and happiness (7.1) remained relatively stable.

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

Last updated: 23/07/2021

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

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Life satisfaction scores among students continued to increase

Average life satisfaction for all students, England, November 2020 to June 2021

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Average life satisfaction scores among students continued to increase to 5.9 (out of 10) in late May 2021. However, average scores remain lower than among the adult population in Great Britain (7.1). 

Last updated: 17/06/2021 

Read more about this in Coronavirus and higher education students: England, 24 May to 2 June 2021

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Mental health

Almost a third of students had engaged with mental health and well-being services since the start of the Autumn 2020 term

  • Almost a third (29%) of students said they had engaged with mental health and well-being services since the start of the Autumn 2020 term. 

  • The most frequently specified services used were GP or primary care (47%), online university services (40%), and NHS or Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme (29%). 

  • The most frequently specified mental health and well-being services students would use in the future were GP or primary care (25%) and online university services (10%). 

Last updated: 17/06/2021 

Read more about this in Coronavirus and higher education students: England, 24 May to 2 June 2021

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Younger adults experienced the largest increase in rates of depressive symptoms

Great Britain, July 2019 to March 2021

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Younger adults had the largest increase in rates of depressive symptoms in early 2021 when compared with pre-pandemic levels. For adults aged 16 to 39 years, rates in early 2021 were more than double (29%) when compared with before the pandemic (11%). In comparison, 10% of adults aged 70 years and over experienced some form of depression in early 2021 compared with 5% before the pandemic. 

Last updated: 05/05/2021 

Read more about this in Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain

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Further information


This page provides an overview of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, bringing together data from multiple sources. Each graphic provides a link to explore the topic further. See the more information page to read about different data sources used in the tool.

The tool is updated regularly when relevant data are published. This is typically at least twice a week, for example:

  • when weekly deaths registrations are published (usually on a Tuesday)

  • when results from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, and Opinions and Lifestyle Survey are published (usually on a Friday)

Daily updates on COVID-19 levels and vaccinations can be found on GOV.UK.

Some policy areas are devolved and more information is available for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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