Almost half of all Australians (47 percent) have said that the CCP virus pandemic has made them more stressed, and social distancing orders have left almost the same amount feeling lonely or isolated, according to a new study by Australian National University (ANU).
New data from the survey highlighted the impact of social distancing and the resultant economic turmoil caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. It has impacted relationships and people’s financial situations, particularly for young people.
The survey polled 3,200 Australians and 3 in 10 said their finances have worsened during the CCP virus pandemic.
Prof. Nicholas Biddle, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods’ assistant director, said that exacerbated relationships and increased time in isolation are drivers towards declining mental health.
“For those with partners, 30.7 percent said their relationships had improved, compared to 22.2 percent of those without partners,” the report’s co-author Matthew Gray said.
Australians who live alone compared to those who live with a partner or children are more likely to say their relationships improved, according to the study.
“And 32.7 percent of Australians who are a parent of a child in their household said their relationships were better. In contrast, 24.9 percent of Australians who weren’t the parent of a child in their household said relationships had improved,” Gray said.
Nicholas Biddle, a co-author of the publication titled “The Mental Health and Relationships During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said there are signs that mental health among Australians has improved since April but for young people, stress is still high.
“For those Australians under the age of 45, psychological distress is still at a higher level than it was prior to the spread of COVID-19,” Biddle said on July 8.
“This is all taking a major toll on Australians’ mental health,” he said.
Findings from the survey showed that loneliness and financial difficulty were major contributors to psychological distress. Unemployment is one of the driving factors in financial difficulties.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data showed that 15 to 24-year-olds have seen been the hardest hit by job losses during the CCP virus pandemic with 16.1 percent out of work in May, a further 102,900 people more since April.
As part of the ANU survey, people were asked: “In the past week, how often have you felt lonely?”
Biddle found that those who did experience loneliness had higher rates of psychological distress than those who did not. The ongoing survey revealed that 36.1 percent of the people said they experienced loneliness in May compared to 45.8 percent in April.
Nicholas Biddle, says the CCP virus pandemic has left some Australians less optimistic about the future, with 40 percent feeling downbeat.
Compared to many other countries, Australia has recorded fewer cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19. According to an unofficial COVID 19 data site that is tracking the statistics of the pandemic, Australia has had 8,886 cases and 106 deaths (as of 10 a.m. on July 9).
“Australia has been very fortunate during the COVID-19 period, with low rates of infection and mortality,” Biddle said.
“However, that does not mean that there have not been large negative effects on other important outcomes, like our relationships, sense of financial security, stress, and loneliness.”
The May ANUpoll was partially funded by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.