As Mental Health Awareness kicks off today, the Mental Health Foundation has revealed that almost three quarters of the UK population have felt so stressed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
While stress isn’t a mental health problem in itself, it often leads to depression, anxiety, self-harm and even suicide. It can also lead to physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease and joint and muscle problems.
The study surveyed some 4,619 people and also found that almost a third (32 per cent) of people had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of stress, while 16 per cent of people said they had self-harmed as a result of stress.
Key findings include:
- 74 per cent of adults have felt so stressed at some point over the past year they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
- 81 per cent of women said this compared to 67 per cent of men.
- 83 per cent of 18-24 year-olds said this compared to 65 per cent of people aged 55 and over.
- 32 per cent of adults said they had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress.
- 35 per cent of women said this compared to 29 per cent of men.
- 39 per cent of 18-24 year-olds said this compared to 25 per cent of adults aged 55 and over.
- 16 per cent of adults said they had self-harmed as a result of stress.
- 18 per cent of women said this compared to 13 per cent of men.
- 29 per cent of 18-24 year-olds said this compared to six per cent of those aged 55 and over.
“Millions of us around the UK are experiencing high levels of stress and it is damaging our health,” said Mental Health Foundation director Isabella Goldie.
“Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns.
“Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.
“Individually, we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us. We also need to change at a societal level. This includes ensuring that employers treat stress and mental health problems as seriously as physical safety.”