Dr Susanna Every-Palmer, the Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago, Wellington, says 30 per cent of those surveyed reported moderate to severe psychological distress and 16 per cent had moderate to high levels of anxiety. Almost 40 per cent said their level of well-being was low.
“New Zealand’s lockdown successfully eliminated COVID-19 from the community, but our results show this achievement brought a significant psychological toll,” Dr Every-Palmer says.
“Substantially increased rates of distress were seen among those who reported having lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in work as a result of the pandemic, those who had potential vulnerabilities to COVID-19, or identified their health status as poor, and those who had a past diagnosis of a mental illness.”
The level of mental distress was much higher in younger adults, with almost half of those aged between 18 and 24 experiencing moderate to severe psychological distress compared to less than one in 10 adults aged 65 years and older.