Signs of distress among Scottish adults are worse now than at the start of the pandemic, according to new research.
A study by the Mental Health Foundation and university partners has found loneliness, suicidality and not coping well with stress has increased since March.
It suggests that despite improvements in some areas over the summer, the longer-term trend is towards deepening distress.
Lee Knifton, director of Scotland at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, we were very concerned that the longer it went on, the more serious the risks to our mental health would become.
“Unfortunately, this latest data appears to support that fear.
“It is clear that for millions of people, distress is not going away and on some important measures, problems are getting worse.
“There is no vaccine to protect our mental health against the consequences of the pandemic.
“Instead we need to focus on prevention – including tackling the underlying causes of mental ill-health, such as rising unemployment, poverty and social isolation.”
The latest wave of the research involved 2,011 Scottish adults and was carried out between November 24 and December 1 – after the announcement of successful vaccine trials.
It shows that since March, the extent of loneliness has risen from 11% of Scottish adults surveyed to 26% in November.
The proportion who say they are “coping well with the stress of the pandemic” has slowly declined, from 76% in April to 63% in November.
Feelings of hopelessness were reported by 15% of Scottish adults surveyed in March and 17% in November – though the figure reached 18% in August.
Reports of having had suicidal thoughts and feelings within the previous two weeks, as a result of the pandemic, are up from 10% of those surveyed in April to 14% in November.
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