Rows over Covid jab and masks contributing to worsening mental health, report says

Disagreements over the Covid jab and mask-wearing are contributing to a rise in mental health problems among Leeds adults, a report has suggested.

By David Spereall
Saturday, 23rd July 2022, 4:45 am

Arguments about aspects of the pandemic have “created tension within friendships, families and communities”, the city’s director of public health, Victoria Eaton said.

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There has been a 20 per cent leap in the number of adults in Leeds seeking help for mental health disorders since before the pandemic, with the use of anti-depressants having also risen locally.

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Ms Eaton’s report, which is going before senior city councillors next week, said: “Groups particularly affected are those people who were already at risk of poor mental health; people who were bereaved during lockdowns; health and social care staff and people admitted to intensive care with Covid-19.

“However, we have all lived through an unprecedented time ofanxiety and uncertainty and, to varying degrees, the pandemic has affected everyone psychologically, one way or another.

“Usual places of support – such as community groups and places of worship – have also been closed or disrupted during the pandemic.

“Disagreements over vaccines, approaches to lockdown legislation and mask-wearing have also created tension within friendships, families and communities.”

While more than three quarters of the city’s population have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, according to the latest figures available, there remains suspicion and scepticism of the jab in pockets across the country.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, the Leeds Care Association said some care home visitors were refusing to wear masks where requested.

The public health report also said that suicide rates in Leeds had not increased during the pandemic.

But it added: “However, given the cost-of-living crisis, it will be important keep a close eye on this as previous economic recessions coincided with a sharp rise in suicides.”