One in four Irish people say their mental health declined during pandemic, survey shows

The RCSI survey found that one in five said their general health declined during this time.

ONE-QUARTER OF Irish people said their mental health deteriorated during the course of the pandemic, according to the results of a new survey. 

The survey by the RCSI’s University of Medicine and Health Sciences also found that one in five said their general health declined during this time. 

Results showed that Irish people place a higher trust in healthcare professionals over other health information sources. 

The level of trust placed in these professionals has also increased since the first ‘health concerns’ survey was undertaken by the RCSI in 2019. 

Almost three-quarters of people said they completely trust the information shared with them by healthcare professionals, an increase on 61% in 2019.

Just 7% of people completely trust the health information they find online, and 3% completely trust health information shared on social media. 

Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of RCSI’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said the pandemic has “really shone a light on the importance of health promotion”. 

The RCSI released the survey along with details of a series of events aimed to help people learn how to take better care of their health and wellbeing. 

The survey was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the RCSI. The questions were asked between 13 and 28 May this year among a sample size of 1,000 adults aged 16 and older. 

Mental health services

Launching the Irish Hospital Consultants Association’s pre-budget submission yesterday, Mater Hospital consultant Dr Ger O’Connor warned that the Irish health service is facing a “perfect storm” as the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic meet the existing weaknesses of mental health services in Ireland.

The body called for an immediate increase of 300 acute adult psychiatric inpatient beds, with specialist services for those over 65 and for those with severe and long-term mental illness.

Consultants also asked the government to immediately increase operational beds for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) by 50%.

Covid-19 has helped to fuel a surge in the number of people requiring mental health treatment, consultants said.

Eating disorders, self-harm and addiction are among the most common areas mental healthcare workers have seen increases in during the pandemic.

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