Three-quarters of UK adults 'reached stress breaking point'

A UK-wide survey into stress launched to mark Mental Health Awareness Week reports 74% of adults felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point this past year.

Mental Health Awareness Week
The Mental Health Foundation’s study also found almost a third of people (32%) had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of stress. A sixth (16%) of the 4,619 people surveyed also said they had self-harmed as a result of feelings of stress.Isabella Goldie, a director at the Mental Health Foundation Director, said: "Millions of us around the UK are experiencing high levels of stress and it is damaging our health. 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.”

Link between stress and other conditions

"Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression," continued Isabella Goldie. “It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our 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.”
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Further evidence of extent of mental ill health at work

To support Mental Health Awareness Week, mental health charity, Mind, also released its latest Workplace Wellbeing Index.This survey of around 44,000 employees reports that almost half (48%) had experienced poor mental health, such as stress, low mood and anxiety, while working at their current organisation. However, only half chose to tell their employer about their difficulties (10,554).Tying in with a CIPD wellbeing report earlier this month, which highlighted a rise in presenteeism, the Workplace Wellbeing Index also shows more than eight in ten people (84%) would continue to go to work when experiencing poor mental health. In comparison, 58% would go to work when experiencing poor physical health.It further notes only 42% of all employees surveyed felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health. A fifth (21%) of all respondents feel that their current workload is unmanageable.

Young people and mental health

The Mental Health Foundation’s survey also looked separately at stress in young people aged 18-24. Here, six out of ten said they were so stressed by the pressure to succeed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.For a similar proportion of young people (57%), stress around the fear of making mistakes was overwhelming. "Our survey highlights just how vulnerable young people are to mental health problems," said Mark Rowland, a director of the Mental Health Foundation.“It shows how much pressure young people are feeling to be a success. The pressure to conform to ideal body image is also intense. Moreover, it is shocking how many young people have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts as a result of stress. "Given that three-quarters of mental health problems are established in people by the age of 24, it is vital we tackle this as a national priority."That is why we are asking for all young people to receive the very best mental health education at all schools to promote their wellbeing and resilience."For related news and features, visit our Global Health and Wellness section. Find out who won in this year's Relocate AwardsRelocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory