According to a survey released by Eurofound, trust in institutions has plummeted during the last year, and the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental wellbeing.
In addition to this, trust in governments and institutions has fallen significantly in the last year, and over a quarter of people surveyed expressed concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine.
Eurofound, also known as the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, carried out this e-survey between February and March 2021.
It was intended to analyze the social and economic impacts of citizens in the 27 EU member states after nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions.
The mental health effects
This report shows that mental well-being has fallen to its lowest levels since these studies began, with all age groups being affected.
Young people and people that have lost their jobs had the biggest decline. Additionally, the pandemic has widened the existing inequalities due to the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on lower-income people and vulnerable groups.
Many citizens also feel disappointed with the levels of support they have been given and that their work-life balance and job security have suffered.
Declining trust in institutions
Another key finding of the survey was that trust in institutions has plummeted. In particular, trust in national governments has declined in all member states. Trust in the EU has also fallen.
Hesitancy towards the COVID-19 vaccine was also common in respondents. Over a quarter of people said they are unlikely to take a vaccine, with lower levels of trust associated with social media use, especially when it’s a primary source of information.
The most reluctant response overall was Bulgaria, where 67% of adults said they were unlikely or very unlikely to take a vaccine if offered one.
The amount of time spent on social media and which platforms were used have been linked with vaccine hesitancy. Around 40% of those that were hesitant said that social media was their main news source, while this was only18% for those that got their news from the press or television.
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