New figures show anxiety is on the rise in Gosport and Fareham after pandemic
A personal well-being report published by the Office of National Statistics, which covered the build-up to national lockdown in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has shown that feelings of anxiety are on the rise in Gosport and Fareham while Havant and Portsmouth are experiencing increased happiness.
The data presents the averages of responses which asked individuals from these areas to evaluate, on a scale of 0 to 10, how satisfied they were with their life overall, whether they feel their life is worthwhile, and whether they’re happy or anxious during a particular period.
Havant’s anxiety levels dropped from 2.6 in 2018 to 2.2 this year and its happiness has increased by 0.4 per cent in the same period. Similarly, Portsmouth’s happiness has largely stayed the same as that of 2018.
However Fareham’s levels of anxiety have increased from 1.8 in 2018 to a shocking 3.0 in March 2020. For life satisfaction, the statistics for Fareham have dropped from 8.1 in 2018 to 7.8 in March, at the beginning of lockdown.
Gosport’s levels of life satisfaction have dropped from 7.9 in 2018 to 7.3 in March 2020 while anxiety levels have risen by 0.5 per cent.
Portsmouth City Council said it is working with other organisations to ensure mental well-being support is offered due to the long-term mental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been reflected in these figures.
Cllr Matthew Winnington, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and social care, said: ‘I've been appointed as the council's new mental health champion and will be involved in the new Mental Health Alliance that is being led by the council and Solent NHS.’
‘In March, the UK entered lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Understandably this caused uncertainty and anxiety in many people as they were worried about their health and that of their loved ones, coupled with concerns around things like employment and children's education.
‘Providing and promoting support for mental wellbeing has always been a priority for us and even more so during a difficult time like coronavirus. PositiveMinds, the support service for Portsmouth residents struggling with difficulties and distress delivered in partnership by Portsmouth City Council, Solent Mind, local NHS and voluntary organisations, quickly switched from in person support to over the phone so that help was still available.
‘In addition, we strived to ensure that residents were aware of activities that could keep them occupied and provide enjoyment, whether that was remotely accessing library services, free online fitness sessions, arts and craft ideas or being able to attend museums or galleries from the comfort of your sofa.’
Dan Warren-Holland, head of the Portsmouth Support and Recovery Service at Solent Mind, added: ‘Daily pressures like work, housing, money and relationships can really knock our confidence and happiness. It’s important that people know of the work and progress being made to make them feel supported and understood when they are feeling low.
‘Locally, our partnered wellbeing services with Solent NHS Trust continue to diversify and offer people flexibility, choice and empowerment. Residents can access many styles of talking therapies, drop-in for practical help at PositiveMinds and even learn coping skills through classroom learning at the Solent Recovery College.’
Solent Mind: 023 8017 9049
Talking Change, Portsmouth: 0300 123 3934
Hampshire Anxiety Clinic: 07909 710002
Samaritans helpline: 116 123