People living in the most deprived areas of Wales are more likely to be self-isolating during Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, and are more likely to be feeling anxious, isolated and worried about their mental health, according to findings released by Public Health Wales.

Each week Public Health Wales has been conducting interviews with hundreds of people aged 18 or over across Wales, to understand how Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures to prevent its spread are affecting the wellbeing of people in Wales.

Public Health Wales has analysed the data from its weekly wellbeing surveys (covering the period of 13 April – 10 May) to identify key demographic findings and has published this data in a recent report.

The report shows that people living in the most deprived areas are more likely to be concerned about becoming ill or losing someone they love to the virus, and are more likely to be concerned about their finances or employment and the wellbeing and education of their children during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures. Whilst many people are exercising more, those in the most affluent communities are most likely to have increased their levels of exercise.

The report also shows that younger adults (18-29 years) are more worried about their mental health than older groups and are feeling the most isolated with more experiencing poorer sleep. They are also more likely to be watching TV/Netflix or gaming more than normal compared with older adults, but also more likely to have increased their exercise. Older adults (70+ years) are most likely to be self-isolating and most worried about getting the virus and becoming seriously ill.

Females are generally feeling more anxious than males and more worried about getting the virus and their mental health in particular, according to the report.

Professor Mark Bellis, Director of Policy and International Health at Public Health Wales said: “Inequalities in health, financial security and social support mean that worries about Coronavirus infections and the measures taken to control them can affect people very differently.

“Results here show how those, especially in poorer communities, are much more likely to feel isolated and anxious and more likely to worry about becoming seriously ill from the virus. Understanding how different communities are experiencing the pandemic is an important consideration for the support they need during the current restrictions and later in order to help them to return to their normal lives.”

In addition to the demographic findings, Public Health Wales has also released the week five findings from its wellbeing survey. Key findings for the period covering 4 May – 10 May include continued support for restrictions in place across Wales with 67 per cent of people saying they are about right. 20 per cent of people said they had not left their home at all over the past seven days (36 per cent left every day). Nearly one in five people (19 per cent) are now worrying a lot about health conditions not related to coronavirus and 41 per cent of those with children are worrying a lot about their children’s education.

The survey is part of a raft of measures being implemented by Public Health Wales to support public health and wellbeing through Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Other measures implemented have also included the recent launch of Public Health Wales’ ‘How are you doing?’ wellbeing campaign, created to support the people of Wales to look after their wellbeing and to ensure public health is protected during the isolation period.