Latest reports on wellbeing from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that overall satisfaction with health – includingmental health- is on the decline.
Between 2013 and 2014, 44.6% of people said they were mostly or completely satisfied with theirhealth, down from 46.4% the year before.
‘Physical and mental wellbeing of the individuals should be the major priority. This can be achieved by finding out the root cause and trying to manage that.’
Meanwhile 19.7% said they had experienced anxiety or depression, in contrast to 18.3% the year before.
Discussing the findings,Nia Charpentier, fromRethink Mental Illness, said “One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in our life, and conditions such as anxiety and depression, as this data shows, are extremely common.”
There is no single cause for these conditions, but factors such as lifestyle, stressful events like financial difficulties or a relationship breakdown could increase the likelihood of someone having problems with their mental health.
Despite the rise in anxiety and depression levels, the figures on wellbeing did show that some areas of life are improving, with more people in work, a rise in household and disposable income, and fewer people saying they struggle financially.
Almost one third (29.2%) of people in 2015-16 reported very high levels of satisfaction with their lives overall, which was similar to the previous year.
In 2013-14, roughly one in 10 people (9.1%) said they struggled financially, which was down 1%on the previous year.
The number of people saying they were not in education, employment or training also dropped from 12.6% between April and June 2015, to 11.7%this year.
Overall, from 43 national wellbeing indicators, 10 improved, four decreased and 22 stayed the same compared with a year earlier.
Rosi Prescott, chief executive ofCentral YMCA,said “While it’s positive to see that some aspects of overall wellbeing are improving, there’s still heaps of work to be done in some of the areas which matter most – health and mental wellbeing.
Indicators reporting satisfaction with overall health have deteriorated, while those reporting evidence of depression or anxiety have risen.
Work and education pressures, isolation as a result of the rise of ‘always on’ social networking, and financial pressures as a consequence of growing financial inequality and rising tuition fees, are all likely to have contributed to these rising figures.
She added “The wellbeing of our nation’s individuals should be our number one priority, before we fall even further behind neighboring countries like Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, who outstrip us in this regard.”