This paper presents an analysis of quantitative and qualitative material collected early in the pandemic looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. This analysis has given us an understanding of how ‘everyone’, in one form or another, has been affected mentally by the pandemic. The qualitative studies, in particular, reveal the profound impacts the changes in every day and working life had on people’s mental lives.

What the evidence also underlines is not just the extent and nature of the mental health impacts of the pandemic, but also the uneven distribution of those impacts, with the potential to worsen and widen mental health inequalities across society. Where people started from, and their social and economic position may well influence the impacts of the pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing. It may also influence the emotional and financial resources people are able to draw on to recover from the pandemic.

Building on the learning from the quantitative and qualitative studies may therefore give us a way to re-imagine mental health, one that enables us to think through how social and economic factors play out at the level of individual and community day-to-day experiences and practices.


© Public Health Scotland 2022

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Cite as

Public Health Scotland. 2022, The early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Scotland’s mental health – not just one story: On behalf of the Public Health Scotland, Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland Mental Health Analytical Hub, Public Health Scotland. Available at: https://doi.org/10.52487/56520

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Last updated: 25 July 2022
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