Doctors have warned of a “looming mental health crisis” and a “”tsunami of referrals” as new data shows that the number of adults in Britain with depression has doubled during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Almost 20% of people said they had experienced depression in the month of June – doubling the number (9.7%) who gave that response to the Office of National Statistics in March of this year.

The survey of 3,500 participants found that women, people with disabilities, those who faced unexpected bills, and adults aged 16 to 39 years old, were the most likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic.

One in eight adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while a further 6.2% of the population continued to experience this level of depressive symptoms, the ONS found.

The stark deterioration in mental health has been linked to the bereavement, isolation and fears, including financial insecurity, caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

“The doubling in the numbers of people experiencing depressive symptoms is another warning of the looming mental health crisis and the tsunami of referrals we are expecting over the coming months,” said Dr Billy Boland of the Royal College of Psychiatrists told the Guardian.