Work is most common cause of stress, anxiety and depression

Work is greatest cause of stressWork pressures are the most common cause of stress in this country, with over a third (34 percent) of people in a poll saying it has contributed to mental health problems; while 20 percent say juggling a work/life balance also plays a major role in causing stress. Research from Aviva ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May) found that 12 million UK adults suffering from stress, anxiety or depression in the past year did not seek help, with many too embarrassed to do so. Stress (33 percent), anxiety (29 percent) and depression (23 percent) are the most common mental health conditions experienced in the past year, but of those who experienced stress, 55 percent did not seek support, while 48 percent did not seek help for anxiety. More people are taking action on depression, but around three in ten (29 percent) of those suffering with this in the last year still did not ask for support.

The stigma associated with having a mental health problem could be preventing people from seeking help: almost a third (32 percent) of UK adults agree they would be too embarrassed to tell people if they had a mental health issue. This rises to 42 percent of those who have experienced mental health problems before.

Men are less likely than women to seek help for anxiety and depression, whereas men are more likely than women to seek help for stress (57 percent women vs. 52 percent men).

Of those who have personally experienced a mental health condition, 36 percent have now successfully recovered and a similar proportion (35 percent) say their condition is being managed effectively. However, 17 percent do not feel they are getting the right treatment.

While concerns over money are also a significant cause of stress (21 percent), work pressures are the most common cause, cited by over a third (34 percent). Unsurprisingly, juggling a work/life balance also plays a major role in causing stress (20 percent).

Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director for Aviva UK Health says: “You wouldn’t be embarrassed to visit a doctor or ask for help with a broken leg, and the same should apply to mental health problems: but there is still a stigma around this kind of illness. Many people are not seeking help and are having to battle on in silence. Not getting appropriate support will make it difficult for many sufferers to cope, and is likely to make their condition worse.

Although you can’t ‘see’ the problem, it’s important to realise mental health problems are often just as damaging as physical illnesses. Through initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Week, we need to increase understanding and awareness of mental health problems so those who experience them don’t have to suffer alone.”

For more information on the research you can access the Aviva Work-life Balance hub here.

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