Covid: The impact on wellbeing and use of personal data in HR

Jenai Nissim and Alison Deighton of HelloDPO discuss how to avoid overstepping the line when gathering sensitive data about individuals’ mental health and wellbeing.

Given the impact of the pandemic, it is not surprising that the UK government has been monitoring the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of UK citizens. There are, however, some startling (and rather sad) results from the first research papers released into the impact of the spring Covid-19 lockdown. For the purpose of this article, we will provide a highlight of the two key findings. However, you can read the full results in the UK Government’s “Covid-19: Mental health and wellbeing surveillance report” which is available on the website.

In April 2020, mental distress was 8.1% higher than between 2017 and 2019. Furthermore, in April 2020, over 30% of adults reported levels of mental distress which was indicative that treatment may be needed; this was compared to around 20% between 2017 and 2019. It is important to note that the number of individuals surveyed through the numerous research papers was relatively low given the population of the UK (some studies covering circa 3,500 people). Additionally, the age ranges of the participants varied. We are certain that if a national survey were conducted, these results would be far higher.

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