Study finds mental health of Indians in the UK at high risk during pandemic

Study finds mental health of Indians in the UK at high risk during pandemic

The mental health and well-being of those who identify within the Indian ethnicity group in the UK is likely to have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, an official statistical review revealed this week.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Indians in Britain reported both greater difficulty with sleep over worry between 2019 and the initial period of lockdown until April this year and also had higher scores than other groups on a measure of self-reported mental health difficulties.

The ONS data found that at the start of the UK-wide lockdown, across all ethnic groups, people reported an increased or persistent loss of sleep over worry. However, after adjusting for age, over one-third (36 per cent) of those from the Indian ethnic group reported this, compared with less than a quarter (23 per cent) of “White British” respondents and 18 per cent of those in the “Other White” ethnic groups.

Glenn Everett, Deputy Director, Sustainability & Inequalities Division, said: “What the research shows us is how the impact on different ethnic groups varies and how people’s circumstances before the pandemic could affect their experience during the first national lockdown.

“Financial resilience was lower among Black African or Other Black households before the pandemic, for example, which would explain why these groups found it harder to manage financially during lockdown. Perhaps unsurprisingly, mental health deteriorated across most ethnic groups during lockdown but was most marked in the Indian group.”

Money worries and savings seem to be the dominating factors behind the mental well-being impact. Most ethnic minorities in the UK also tend to work in more precarious jobs, including on the frontlines in hospital wards, making them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

In comparison with other ethnicities, people of Indian origin coped relatively better in terms of loss of income over the early part of the lockdown, with 58 per cent able to rely on assets to cover the income drop.

Earlier studies have shown that Covid-19 has a more adverse impact on minority ethnic groups in the UK, with working and living conditions largely believed to be behind the disparity of higher death rates among ethnic minority groups.

Comorbidities such as blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are also believed to play a part in making those of South Asian ethnicity more susceptible to serious illness from the deadly virus.

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