The NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network Covid-19 impact survey reveals that, 61.1% of women living in Donegal feel that their mental health has been impacted by Covid-19. This percentage increased to 78% for women within the 18-25 age group and 70% for women between 26-40 years of age. While women living in the Buncrana Electoral Area had the highest percentage at 68% and 68.6% of women with a civil status of living with a partner had the highest percentage for any civil status category.
When asked since Covid-19 how much time have you had to look after your own mental health and wellbeing? 36.7% of Women stated that they had less time. This increased to 46% for women in the 26-40 years’ age category, 49% for women living in the Buncrana Electoral Area and 50% for women living with a partner.
It is clear the Covid-19 pandemic has created and highlighted additional stresses for women in Donegal. Women who took part in our impact survey talked about a number of issues and challenges they have faced since March due to the pandemic, these include;
Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress with Covid-19 restrictions re-triggering past traumatic experiences, going through pregnancy during the pandemic, dealing with ongoing health issues while trying to stay safe through the pandemic.
Some of the most common themes raised by women which directly impacted their mental health related to childcare and work. Many women talked about the additional workload and the challenge of balancing working from home and childcare, expectations. Many highlighted even with a partner or husband in the house it still fell on them to be responsible for childcare. Homeschooling was a particular issue raised by women, who stated many had experienced an assumption by their partner that it would be them who would look after homeschooling. Which was a cause of frustration for women.
Many highlighted experiencing feelings of anxiety, isolation and loneliness. With constant worrying and isolation leading to sleep issues. Being away from friends and family also contributing to this. For others stress and anxiety was being brought on by worrying about the uncertainty of the future, finances and how they were going to pay bills if no work continued because of Covid-19.
While there were, additional stresses brought about from a feeling of expectation that with more free time now you should be doing stuff and being active at home all the time when in reality you’re just trying to cope with getting through the day.
A number of women who were front-line workers also expressed that their mental health was being impacted by a lack of support from their employers in relation to new workloads, personal safety and proper communication during the last few months.
This is just a snapshot of the data we received from 832 women living across Donegal. We will continue to analysis all the data and share our findings and recommendations in the Autumn.