Hannah Etty is a student in her third-year of Clinical Psychology training. At the beginning of COVID-19, Hannah and her supervisor, Dr Jo Daniels, conducted a research project on the UK’s experience of in the first lockdown and how they were coping with the newfound uncertainty. The research found that levels of low mood and anxiety were elevated, especially people vulnerable to COVID-19 who were found to be twice as likely to feel anxious about their health. A survey from April 2020 survey found 40% of people were experiencing levels of distress that were above the clinical cut-off. This means that those individuals are experiencing such extreme levels of stress that it impacts their daily life.
Going forward, Etty and Dr Daniels wanted to look into people who are shielding as there’s currently not a lot of research surrounding them. They’ve created a survey, that anyone can fill in, but it’s mainly aimed at people who are shielding and their families. They want to find data on the levels of anxiety people who are shielding are facing and what behaviours they’re engaging in to keep themselves safe.
They aim to understand shielders and they’re families as best as they can so they can learn how best to support these people. From a previous survey, they found that people who struggle to tolerate the uncertainty were more likely to engage in unhealthy coping behaviours such as denial, avoidance or substance use and, as a result, are more likely to feel anxious or low in mood.
So far, the survey has 700 responses but they are hoping for more. The survey only takes 10-15 to complete so if you’d like to help out, go to www.tinyurl.com/bathshielders to learn more.
Words by Lauren Forester