TopicsMental HealthThe cost of anxiety

The cost of anxiety

Nearly all young people (86% of 18- to 24-year-olds) reported feeling anxious in the past two weeks, a large-scale survey has found. While 58% were unable to undertake everyday activities as a result of their anxiety.

The findings were published in a report this week by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). The Uncertain Times report addresses anxiety in the UK – the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15 to 21 May).

Other groups more likely to report feeling anxious included single parents, LGBTQ+ people, carers, 18- to 34-year-olds, and people from a minority ethnic community.

Currently, the cost of living is a huge driving force behind people’s anxieties. According to MHF’s research, 32% of people cited ‘being able to afford my bills’ as something they had been anxious about in the last two weeks.

When asked what actions would reduce their anxiety, 40% said financial security was the most important, compared to the next most important – ‘less pressure at work’ – at 21%. Other major factors behind anxiety include childhood trauma, social isolation, negative life events, societal pressures, and a lack of access to mental health resources.

Some demographics are also a lot less likely to seek help with anxiety; men were less likely to see a GP (26%) or a therapist (18%), compared to women (29% and 22%, respectively), and only 23% of men were likely to seek help from friends compared to 31% of women. Even less likely to seek help were men from Black and minority ethnic communities, where only 14% had seen a GP.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the MHF suggests there is more to be done to support mental health. According to the report, the government has abandoned their 10-year mental health and wellbeing strategy in favour of a short-term major conditions strategy which the MHF has expressed concern ‘will aim to do too much, across too many areas, and will fall short in many of them’.

Additionally, to address how money worries are affecting anxiety, the MHF says there is more governments need to do. They are calling for financial support schemes – such as the Guarantee our Essentials campaign – to alleviate stress on individuals in need, and the training of frontline workers to respond effectively to individuals suffering.

In these uncertain times, Mental Health Awareness week aims to get us all talking about our mental health. For more information, visit the Mental Health Foundation

Image credit | Shutterstock

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