Almost half of Irish people (44%) say their mental wellbeing is of real concern for them, while one in 10 people (11%) claim everyday struggles get on top of them, according to new research released today by laya healthcare to mark Mental Health Week (7 – 13th October).
Stigma around anxiety is still a problem according to the majority of Irish people (75%), with one in four (42%) experiencing anxiety feeling they’d be judged by work colleagues if they knew, and 82% of people agreeing that the conversation around mental health in Ireland needs to change.
Money worries is the no. 1 issue that causes anxiety in almost half of all Irish people (49%), followed by poor sleep (46%), being overweight (43%) and spending time on social media (20%) all having a negative effect. Worryingly, one in ten (11%) rate their own mental wellbeing as 'bad' or 'very bad'.
Top 10 things that negatively impact our mental wellbeing:
2-Poor sleep: 46%
3-My weight: 43%
4-Getting enough exercise: 21%
5-My work environment: 21%
6-Social media: 20%
7-Work life balance: 17%
8-Relationship with spouse/partner: 13%
9-Drinking too much alcohol: 10%
10-My ability to do my job: 9%
Counselling Psychologist Dr. Sarah O’Neill, who is the clinical lead for laya healthcare’s 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme, said: “The findings really shine a light on the need to open up the conversation around mental wellbeing in Ireland and the supports available to people. Knowing and understanding what triggers feelings of anxiety can help prevent or manage it but also knowing there is help at hand is hugely important.”
The impact of living with anxiety was revealed by the research with over half (56%) struggling to sleep, while almost a third of people feel ‘hopeless about the future’. Worryingly, one in five (17%) drink more alcohol to help them feel better, with one in ten (14%) taking sick leave from work. Sadly, 5% of those surveyed have lost a job because of their anxiety.
Top 5 Impacts of anxiety:
1-Difficulty sleeping: 56%
2-Difficulty concentrating: 34%
3-Feeling completely hopeless about the future: 32%
4-Alienating myself from friends and family: 25%
5-Created problems with my family: 21%
Half of Irish people would confide in their spouse or partner with their worries, with over one in ten people (13%) choosing their friends to talk to. Almost one in ten choose to keep their worries under wraps and tell no one (9%). Only one in four have sought help from a professional counsellor (28%), with one in three (37%) not comfortable talking to a stranger about their problems, and one in four (26 per cent) thinking it would be too expensive.
Two in three (64%) of Irish adults know someone who regularly struggles with their mental wellbeing.
The survey also examined the activities Irish adults engage in to help boost their mental wellbeing, revealing that exercise is the nation’s favourite way to relieve stress, with more than half (52%) of people getting active to improve their mood. Socialising with friends (40%), watching TV (40%) and reading (39%) also feature prominently and, given our rich culture in music, it’s not surprising that almost half (49%) of people listen to music to improve their mental wellbeing.
Sex is the preferred way for one in five (22%) to enhance their mood, ranking ahead of mindfulness exercises (12%).
Launched in July, laya healthcare’s 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme provides members, who have joined or renewed on or after July 1st 2018, with access to a nationwide network of fully qualified, accredited and experienced counsellors and psychotherapists to help with everyday issues that may be impacting their wellbeing. Members can also access a panel of experts experienced in a variety of fields, including financial and tax advisors, legal professionals, career counsellors and more. For more go to layahealthcare.ie.