Older people who were advised to shield at the start of the pandemic suffered high levels of depression and anxiety over worries about food and essentials, a new study has found.
The research, co-led by UCL, shows that the increase in poor mental health was not related to reduced social contacts, but due to higher levels of worry about obtaining food and other essentials, and less physical activity and sleep.
It was around the time when supermarkets were dealing with empty shelves due to panic-buying and customers faced delays in getting a time slot for deliveries.
This prompted supermarkets to prioritise slots for deliveries for people in the shielding group, who were also entitled to food parcels.
The study found 60% of older people instructed to shield were strictly isolating in April and May, staying at home and trying to limit face-to-face contact.
Severe depression and anxiety symptoms were twice