The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, have released results of a survey done in conjunction with YouGov which polled 4,169 adults in the UK. The report states that over the past year, three quarters (74%) of people have at some point reached stress levels where they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress impacts people both mentally and physically in different ways and in their survey, 46% reported that they started drinking, or, had increased their drinking and 16% reported that they started smoking or increased their smoking. You can see a previous blog post, where we summarise a previous report about work place stress.
The links between stress and physical health have been frequently documented and include affecting our gastrointestinal system, brain activity, immune function and has been linked to cardiovascular disease. There is also a growing research base connecting stress to depressive symptoms and onset of major depression, as well as suicidal thoughts and self-harm. The MHF survey found that out of those feeling stressed, 51% reported feeling depressed and 61% feeling anxious. 16% said they had self-harmed and 32% said they had suicidal thoughts/ feelings and 37% reported feeling lonely, which perhaps could be due to more indirect effects on how they interact with others.
Other key findings included:
- 36% reported long term conditions (either one’s own, or those of close family/friends) as the top stressor.
- 22% reported not having enough money to meet basic needs as a source of stress
- 22% reported feeling stressed due to debt
- 12% of adults online said that feeling like they need to respond instantly to messages was a stressor (e.g. messages on social media).
- 29% of non-working adults, or adults working in skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled occupations reported not having enough money to meet basic needs as a source of stress. Reducing to 17% for adults working in supervisory, managerial, administrative or professional occupations.
- 49% of 18-24 year olds who have experienced high levels of stress, felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress.
- 32% aged 18-24 reported housing worries to be key stressors.
You can download the full report and learn how you can get involved with mental health awareness week on the foundations website here.
To get involved, we are hosting an event in London on the 17th May, which will explore: how to recognise stress in both self and others, understand what mental distress is and the impact it has on the individual, family and friends, key methods to managing mental distress and how psychological risk management can provide a positive outcome for all stakeholders. You can find more information here.