New chance to share experiences of living during a pandemic
3 February 2021
As the pandemic continues to dominate our lives, people in Wales are being asked to share their experiences as part of ongoing research into how the population is coping with COVID-19.
Wales Wellbeing, led by Cardiff University’s Professor Robert Snowden and Swansea University’s Professor Nicola Gray, was launched last June to examine the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and emotional wellbeing.
With backing from all seven Welsh health boards, the project’s findings will be used to help the NHS in Wales to not only understand the issues affecting people, but also to shape support services for the future.
More than 15,000 people across Wales took part in the project’s initial survey and the findings led the researchers to conclude that Wales faces a wave of mental health problems in the wake of COVID-19.
They discovered that younger adults, women and people from deprived areas were suffering the most. Around half of the participants showed clinically significant psychological distress, with around 20% suffering severe effects.
Now the researchers are interested to see whether the ongoing pandemic has resulted in a further decline in the population’s mental wellbeing, whether there is stability in the levels of psychological distress, or whether mental health has bounced back to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Professor Snowden said: “This is very important research. After carrying out just one survey we were able to identify serious issues that will have long-term implications for all of us in Wales."
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.
This latest survey, which is open until 20 February, is entirely anonymous and asks participants to provide information on subjects such as ongoing concerns they may have, how their financial position has been affected by COVID-19 or if they have had to cancel major events such as weddings or holidays.
Professor Gray added: “However, we are also keen to find out if there have been positive experiences, so we are asking if people to tell us what, if anything, they have been able to enjoy during our time living with coronavirus – perhaps having more time with family or to appreciate their surroundings?”
The findings of this and subsequent surveys will be given to each Welsh health board so they can be used to see where and what kind of support is needed and by which sectors of the population.
The online questionnaire is very easy to access and will only take about 10 minutes to complete.