Study shows increase in people over 60 experiencing symptoms of depression during pandemic

Written on 02/02/2021
Ciarán Mather

The current COVID-19 pandemic has been taking its toll on many people: especially the older generation, according to one new study.

Led by academics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda), it found that over 20 per cent of adults over the age of 60 reported symptoms of depression since the start of the pandemic in March of last year.

This is more than twice that of the level reported in both 2018 and 2019, the study claims.

The study's authors claim: 'Given that individuals with lowest levels of life satisfaction are also more likely to report higher levels of stress and anxiety and have depressive symptoms, public health should also consider the longer-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.'

They added that requirements for older people to cocoon indoors in order to avoid contracting COVID-19 had 'severely curtailed interactions with family and friends.'

Of the participants, people who lived in urban areas were more likely to report symptoms of depression than their rural-area counterparts, while just over a quarter (27 per cent) of single people surveyed reported symptoms of depression, compared with 19 percent of those living within a household with other people.

In addition, more than a quarter of women (26 per cent) reported signs of depression, compared to 16 percent of men.

These are troubling times, but we must not neglect our mental health in favour of our physical health; both are important. 

If you have been struggling during lockdown, you can contact the following resources:

  • Alone: 0818 222 024 or email
  • Aware: 1800 804 848 or
  • COVID-19 Senior Helpline: 1800 804 591
  • Samaritans Ireland: or call 116 123
  • Pieta House: Text HELP to 51444 or call 1800 247 247
  • Jigsaw: 01 472 7010 or

​Help is out there if you need it and there is always someone available to listen.