Fall in mental well-being across all social groups


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According to the most recent round of Eurofound's "Living, working and COVID-19" online survey, there is a decline in mental well-being in the EU as a whole, measured using the WHO-5 mental well-being scale (0–100), based on the frequency of positive feelings over the previous two weeks, the Warsaw Business Journal reports.

Mental well-being was found to have decreased from 53 to 45 on average across the EU27 between e-survey rounds 2 and 3 in summer 2020 and spring 2021, after having improved from early in the pandemic (49 in round 1). The deterioration in mental health is especially evident among those who have lost their job: in summer 2020, this group had a WHO-5 score of 42 but in spring 2021 it plummeted to 35. 

A significant decrease in mental well-being is recorded across all age groups since summer 2020, with WHO-5 scores for all groups now below those recorded in spring 2020, during the first lockdown. As in the previous e-survey rounds, people aged 50 years or over have better mental well-being scores in round 3 than younger groups (47 compared with 43 for those aged 18–34 and 49 for those aged 35–49), but this older group also experienced a large drop in average mental well-being (from 55 in summer 2020 to 47 in spring 2021). 

Almost two-thirds of people (64 percent) in the youngest age group (18–34 years) are at risk of depression. 

Well-being among women between rounds 2 and 3 decreased from 51 to 44 and among men from 55 to 47. Across age and gender groups, the lowest mental well-being in spring 2021 is registered among women aged 18–24 and women aged 35–44 (41 for both groups), though the largest drop in mental well-being occurred among men aged 18–24 (from 54 in summer 2020 to 44 in spring 2021). 

In spring 2021, there was an overall increase in negative feelings, such as tension/anxiety, loneliness, and feeling downhearted and depressed, across most social groups in the EU. An increase in depressive feelings was recorded particularly among younger groups (+13 percentage points for both young men and women), while the highest increase in loneliness was recorded for women over 50 (+13 percentage points). 

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