Published: 10 May 2021 at 11:23
Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 runs from 10-16 May. Research from VERI shows that people with vision and hearing impairments are at significant risk of depression and anxiety.
Mental Health Awareness Week, sponsored by the Mental Health Foundation, occurs annually and gives an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health.
During this week, it is important to focus on groups of people who are likely to experience mental health issues. These include people with vision and hearing loss, and our research has shown significant risk of depression and anxiety in those with vision and hearing impairments.
Our study, which is a first, ascertained the risk of depression in people with combined vision and hearing loss in 23,089 adults (Frontiers in Psychology). We showed that people with combined vision and hearing loss were 3.85 times higher to report depression and 3.38 times more likely than the general population to report chronic anxiety.
In another study, we showed that women who suffer from vision, hearing or dual sensory loss are more than twice as likely to suffer depression and anxiety compared to men who experience the same issues (International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry). Across the whole sample of 23,000 adults, the prevalence of depression and anxiety was between 2 and 2.56 times higher in women compared to men, and women with dual sensory impairment were almost three and a half times more likely to report depression or anxiety than those who did not have any impairments.
“This highlights the importance of supporting people with vision and hearing loss, especially in women. Some sensory loss is preventable or treatable, and clearly these issues are taking their toll not just on physical health, but mental health too.”