A pioneering study examining the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of Welsh people is appealing for more information from the public.
Wales Wellbeing, led by Swansea University’s Professor Nicola Gray and Professor Robert Snowden from Cardiff University, has been running since June 2020 and has conducted two surveys so far to find out how the Welsh have coped with the pandemic and its consequences.
With backing from all seven Welsh health boards, the unique project’s findings will be used to help the NHS in Wales to not only understand the issues affecting the population in Wales, but also to shape support services for the future.
Professor Gray, from the School of Psychology, said: “We’re very grateful for the fantastic response we have had from the public since the project began. Now we are calling on them to help us again.
“Following three lockdowns, the vaccination programme and the relaxing of certain Covid guidelines, we are in a very different phase of the pandemic. We are keen to follow the changing situation with regards to the mental health of the population of Wales, and to consider appropriate recovery strategies.
“To do that we now intend to continue hosting these wellbeing surveys approximately every six months.”
More than 23,000 responses have been received for both surveys and their answers have led researchers to conclude that Wales faces a wave of mental health problems in the wake of Covid-19.
The results of the last survey, conducted between January and March this year, revealed levels of population wellbeing had fallen slightly since the initial questionnaire. Now 40.4 per cent of respondents reporting moderate or severe levels of psychological distress compared to 36.8 per cent in 2020.
The research also showed the youngest age group were 10 times more likely to be distressed than the oldest group of participants.
The Wales Wellbeing research group also consists of Dr Chris O'Connor, Divisional Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board with assistance from marketing professional Stuart Williams and Swansea University PhD students James, Knowles, Jennifer Pink and Nicola Simkiss.
Professor Gray added: “We have just launched our third survey and we would very much value any support to share it among colleagues, communities friends and family.”
You can take part in the latest survey now. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been part of the research so far, anyone is welcome to join, the answers can be given online or via post or email and respondents will remain anonymous.
The survey closes on Sunday, November 14.