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Universal Credit rise: Pandemic restrictions ‘could double prevalence of adult depression in Cambs’

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Around 80,000 working-age adults in Cambridgeshire could develop anxiety or depression as a result of the restrictions put in place to tackle the pandemic, a report has estimated.

The warning comes from a Cambridgeshire County Council report, which says its finding should be taken as “reasonable extrapolations and estimates, not validated forecasts”.

It says a model developed by Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust has been used to estimate the number of people who may develop mental ill-health as a result of the pandemic.

The results for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough show a possible 20 per cent increase in working-age adults developing anxiety, around 19,000 people.

It also highlights a possible doubling of working-age adults developing depression, which would equate to around 59,000 people.

“A similar proportion of older adults are potentially at risk,” the report says.

‘Universal Credit claims more than doubled’

It says a fifth to a quarter of Cambridgeshire’s 20,000 key workers are expected to be at risk of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

And the report says that for those who are newly unemployed “the expectation is that 18 per cent of them will develop mental ill-health as a result, and that following hospitalisation and recovery up to a third will experience depression”.

The report also says youth unemployment has “risen sharply locally,” increasing from 2.6 per cent to 7.2 per cent in August 2020.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is estimated to have a population size of around 850,000.

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The report also says:

– The pandemic and subsequent response “seems to have caused a slight rise in domestic abuse crimes, reversing a previous trend of declining crimes”

– Extrapolating from a national survey suggests that around 46,000 pupils were not fully engaged with learning in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for the period of March to July

– During the lockdown “evidence has been seen locally from Huntingdonshire and elsewhere of increased use of food banks, increased council tax arrears, and demand for hardship funds increasing”

– The number of people claiming Universal Credit in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has more than doubled

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/universal-credit-rise-pandemic-restrictions-19146293

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