Aviva has seen a 100% increase in the number of young employees and dependents covered by group private medical insurance (PMI) seeking help through its mental health pathway since the start of the year.
The startling finding illustrates the scale of the impact on young people’s mental health as a result of the pandemic.
Research from the insurer revealed that successive lockdowns have had a disproportionate impact on the mental health of young people and that most young adults were worried about restrictions lifting.
The study showed almost half of young adults (47%) said their mental health had been negatively impacted, compared to a UK average of just under one in three (31%).
A third (31%) of young adults said lockdown had adversely affected their physical health and a similar figure (32%) said it had negatively impacted their finances.
The research also found young adults reported higher levels of anxiety and low happiness levels compared to other UK adult groups.
When asked how they felt the previous day, nearly half (48%) of 16-24 year olds said they felt anxious compared to a third (33%) of all adults. A quarter (25%) of 16-24 year olds also reported feeling unhappy the previous day.
Almost six in 10 (57%) 16-24 year olds said the things they did in life were worthwhile, compared to the UK average of 64% of adults.
The research also indicated boredom (44%) and feelings of loneliness and isolation (39%) were heightened for 16-24 year olds, while they are also were more likely to be generally anxious about the virus and in particular more anxious about their future health than other age groups.
End of restrictions
Censuswide questioned 2,001 UK adults last month for the insurer and overall, a third (30%) of UK 16-24 year olds said their personal experience of lockdown had been negative.
A third (34%) of 16-24 year olds were looking forward to meeting friends in large groups with a similar number looking forward to going on holiday.
But more than half (54%) said they were anxious about the final ending of restrictions.
Of those who are anxious about the final lifting of measures, 43% attributed this to becoming more socially introverted, while 40% said it was driven by worries about the virus.
A third were concerned about keeping up with the pace of normal life and 22% were worried that their work-life balance would deteriorate.
Dr Subashini M, associate medical director at Aviva UK Health, (pictured) noted the succession of lockdowns had a profound impact on everybody but its research suggested the mental health of young people had been disproportionately impacted.
“Our claims data for our UK group PMI customers bears this out, as we’ve seen a 100% increase in the numbers of young employees and their dependents seeking help through our mental health pathway since January,” she said.
“Three-quarters of these claims through our employer customers are by young females, with only a quarter of the claims made by young males seeking help, even though we know that mental health issues do not discriminate.”