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Mental health plummeted in 2020, but there’s plenty to be optimistic about in 2021, says MYNDUP data

Lockdowns drove many to therapy and counselling, but people feel much better about the future as life gets back to normal

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Highlights:

  • 57% of sessions booked in October-December 2020 were therapy or counselling – up from just 18% in January-March 2020
  • 38% of customers were aged 35 or over in the last three months of 2020, up from just 9% in the summer months
  • The above data shows lockdowns and isolation hit people hard, especially around Christmas time
  • But there’s light at the end of the tunnel: based on thousands of sessions booked, around 30% weren’t happy with their mental health in 2020 and early 2021, but this decreased to 18% in the last three months

2020 was a rough time for the nation’s mental health. New data from mental health startup MYNDUP has revealed just how difficult things were, with a massive increase in therapy and counselling sessions as lockdowns wore on. More positively though, there are also encouraging signs that people are seeing light at the end of the tunnel as we move into summer, as fewer clinical sessions are being booked

The data was taken from 3,500 sessions booked with MYNDUP. In early 2020 before the pandemic gained a foothold, just 18% of sessions were for therapy or counselling. By the end of the year, after months of lockdowns and a cancelled Christmas for many, this rocketed to 57%.

People over 35 really started to feel the strain towards the end of 2020. Between July and September, they made up just 9% of customers. From October to December, this surged to 38%. This demographic in particular seemed to suffer as winter set in and the outlook became gloomy all over again. There are several possible explanations for this, such as school closures putting extra strain on parents and the inability to spend time with extended family.

Joel Gujral, founder and CEO at MYNDUP, said: “We’ve all had our struggles during lockdown, but this data lays bare just how tough it’s been for many. Before Covid came along and we were living our normal lives, people were more likely to opt for things like life coaching over therapy or counselling. This trend continued for a good few months as people handled early lockdowns stoically, but there was a shocking turn towards the end of the year as people’s positivity dwindled.

“It’s also interesting to see how the over-35s turned to mental health support more often as the year went on. There are lots of possible reasons for this, including the stresses of combining home working with home schooling, alongside the general isolation that we’ve all felt.

“Looking on the bright side, it’s positive to see that these people are engaging with mental health support rather than suffering in silence. After all, one of the biggest mental health challenges we face is smashing the stigma around it.”

Looking at the positives even more, only 18% of customers said they weren’t happy with their mental health over the last three months. This is an encouraging drop from 33% in the first three months of 2021.

Joel added: “When you’re out and about at the moment, it’s clear that people are much more optimistic about the future than they were a few months ago. There finally seems to be an end in sight, which is being reflected in the way people see their mental health.”

He concluded: “What’s important now is for all of us to keep our foot on the gas as far as mental health is concerned, and keep encouraging ourselves, friends, family members, and colleagues to take steps to ensure our mental wellbeing is always in the best possible shape. There’s no single solution to mental health after all, so people will deal with the challenges of the next few months in different ways. Keep all of this in mind, and we’ll have much to look forward to for the rest of the year!”

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