Ratings of anxiety have increased in the last year

on January 18, 2017

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that levels of anxiety have increased in the last year. Wales is the only country with higher anxiety rates than the UK average.

‘Anxiety’ (Wikimedia Commons)

Matthew Steel, a statistician at ONS, has said that although it’s early to say why anxiety ratings have levelled off, it’s known from previous research that factors impacting people’s personal well-being include health, work, and relationship status.

The Priory Group, a provider of mental health facilities in the UK, said they also have seen an increase of anxiety admissions, often related to work stress:

“Priory Group receives a fairly consistent number of calls year round, however, Priory has seen a rise in almost a fifth of patients suffering from stress and anxiety related to work since 2010.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are 1.3 million people in the UK suffering from work-related illness.  The total number of work-related cases of stress, anxiety or depression in 2015/16 was 488,000.  The total number of working days lost due to this in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days, which equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per case.
Dr. Hayley Zwanenberg, medical director of Priory’s Woodbourne Hospital in Birmingham, says that employers can do more to ensure that workers do not feel “ashamed or nervous about coming forward with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and coping with bereavement.”
“We see workplace stress, fuelled by job insecurity, long hours and significant workloads, causing significant health issues for people. Those with mental illness often find it problematic to access employment, housing or even appropriate services; it is right these issues are addressed as a priority.”
She highlights that “education is key, including among teachers and employers” who offer programmes to pupils and workers to aid wellbeing. The programmes should include “developing healthy coping strategies to manage distress”.
“Teachers and employers can then help identify those at risk and who needs support as well as tackle triggers for mental illness, such as bullying and work-based stress. At present too many people are suffering far too long before requesting help and then they are struggling to get access to services.”
The ONS has been collecting personal well-being data since 2011.  The highest levels of anxiety were recorded between 2012-2013.

This is the first time annual estimates of personal well-being have been presented on a rolling quarterly basis. These trends can now be monitored more closely.

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