Coronavirus is impacting all of our lives. These pages highlight key findings from ongoing research Samaritans is doing to understand the impact of the coronavirus on wellbeing.
Understanding the impact on our callers
The Covid-19 pandemic is having profound social, psychological and economic impacts all over the world.
Samaritans is seeing the direct impact of coronavirus on people’s wellbeing in the UK and Ireland.
It’s too early to know the effect of coronavirus on suicide rates, and it is important to remember that a rise in suicide rates is not inevitable. However, evidence shows us that, as well as affecting people’s mental wellbeing, the pandemic is having an impact on factors we know are related to suicide risk, which is of course very worrying.
Since the pandemic began, we have been conducting research to understand more about how coronavirus is affecting people who access our services. This has involved analysis of anonymous data we routinely collect about our calls and emails, as well as research with our listening volunteers every month since lockdown began.
In the first three months of lockdown (12 weeks between 23 March-14 June 2020) we provided support over half a million times to people struggling to cope, via phone and email.
One in four of our calls were from people who were specifically concerned about Covid-19 – although, our volunteers suggest that Covid-19 has affected every one of our callers in some way, even if it wasn’t their main concern.
In calls where Covid-19 has been a specific concern, isolation, mental ill-health, and unemployment have also been mentioned more often than when Covid-19 isn’t mentioned explicitly.
We’ve also seen a change in the way people use our services during this time. During the first month of lockdown, we answered more emails than usual, and calls tended to be longer. At the start of lockdown, people’s concerns about Covid-19 were mostly related to health, but as time went on, other concerns related to the effects of coronavirus have been more prominent, for example economic concerns.
It is clear that Covid-19 is affecting everyone – but not everyone is affected in the same way, and based on our ongoing research we are particularly concerned about three groups: