“74% of UK overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point in the past year”

A UK-wide stress survey has found that almost three quarters of adults (74%) have at some point over the past year felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

The survey – commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation – also found that almost a third of people (32%) had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of stress.

Meanwhile one sixth of people (16%) said they had self-harmed as a result of feelings of stress.

The study was commissioned from YouGov to launch Mental Health Awareness Week which has been run by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001. The study is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive stress survey ever carried out across the UK with 4,619 people surveyed.

The study is included in a new report by the Mental Health Foundation published today, Stress: are we coping?

Further findings from the survey on the impact of stress on young people will be released later in the week. (Wednesday 16th May)

Mental Health Foundation Director Isabella Goldie 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.

“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 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.

“We are also asking for well-being days to be provided to public sector workers as part of reducing the pressure on those who work hardest to look after us.”