Anxiety Statistics UK: 2022

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There has been an “explosion” in anxiety across Britain over the last decade, according to research, but just how prevalent is it really? To learn more, we’re going to dive into the data and explore anxiety statistics in the UK.

Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind, characterised by feelings of fear, worry or general unease. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for some, their anxiety is constant and affects their daily lives.

As we continue to navigate an uncertain world, our mental wellbeing is constantly being tested, which has led to levels of anxiety increasing around the world. In the UK, anxiety is among the most common mental health disorders.

Research also shows that employee anxiety is a challenge facing organisations, with anxiety accounting for a significant percentage of all work-related ill health cases.

Part of understanding anxiety is educating ourselves on current data and research around the topic. Read on to discover anxiety statistics, in the workplace and beyond, from leading organisations in mental health, academia and public health.

Anxiety Statistics UK

Exploring UK anxiety statistics reveals how many people need support, and the extent to which different demographics are affected by anxiety.

The research shows that:

  • In any given week in England, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (Mind)
  • In the UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time (Mental Health UK)
  • Less than 50% of people with generalised anxiety disorder access treatment (Mental Health Foundation)
  • An estimated 822,000 workers are affected by work-related stress, depression or anxiety every year (Health and Safety Executive)

With so many employees experiencing anxiety, organisations must also be aware of how anxiety will impact their people’s wellbeing. With that in mind, read on to explore employee anxiety statistics.

Employee anxiety statistics

This year, the experts at Champion Health revealed the impact of anxiety on UK employees in the Workplace Health Report: 2022.

The Champion team set out to discover the health challenges faced by the UK’s workforce, from mental health, to sleep quality, productivity, musculoskeletal health and beyond.

The result was a range of employee anxiety statistics which highlighted, among other things, these four key findings:

  1. 58% of employees are experiencing anxiety
  2. 34% of employees experiencing anxiety are aged 25-34
  3. 62% of employees experiencing anxiety are female
  4. Only 9% of employees are seeking mental health support

Read on to explore this data in more detail.

1. Symptoms of anxiety are prevalent among UK employees

Champion’s data found that, across the board, the number of employees experiencing symptoms of anxiety remains high; 58% of employees are experiencing at least mild symptoms of anxiety.

Almost a quarter of employees are also experiencing ‘clinically relevant symptoms’, suggesting that they would benefit from a qualified medical health professional.

An image showing depression statistics

The impact of anxiety on our working population was also highlighted by the finding that generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most frequently reported mental health diagnosis. Over 1 in 10 employees are currently diagnosed with GAD.

Depression is the next most frequently reported mental health diagnosis, affecting 10% of employees, and social anxiety is the third highest, affecting 3% of employees.

an image showing the top 3 most frequently reported mental health diagnoses

2. Younger employees are being affected more by anxiety

Champion’s research also revealed that younger employees are more likely to experience anxiety compared to their older colleagues.

Of those employees experiencing anxiety, 34% are aged between 25 and 34. We found a similar link between age of employee and workplace depression, which you can read more about in this article on depression statistics.

Employees aged between 35 and 44 were the next most affected group, making up 26% of those experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

Employees between the ages of 45 and 54 made up 19% of the sample, and employees aged between 16 and 24 only 13%.

These findings take on greater significance when considered alongside research by Deloitte, which suggested that pandemic-related worries, such as job security and the resulting financial pressure, are more likely to impact younger employees.

A picture showing the symptoms of anxiety and depression across age groups

3. Levels of anxiety are higher among female employees

Champion’s research also revealed that female employees are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety than male employees. Almost two-thirds of the employees experiencing anxiety are female.

More research by Deloitte may point to the reasons for this pattern. Their findings indicate that female professionals have fared poorer throughout the pandemic, due to factors such as increased workloads and household responsibilities.

The discrepancies between different employee demographics highlights the need for leaders to recognise the different pressures faced by different employees and commit to addressing them.

An image showing the symptoms of anxiety and depression in males and females

4. Employees aren’t seeking mental health support

Despite the prevalence of anxiety and depression among UK professionals, Champion’s data also revealed a reluctance around employees to engage with mental health support.

Less than 1 in 10 employees are currently seeking support for their mental health, including counselling, talking therapies and medication. This is despite nearly 1 in 5 reporting a current mental health diagnosis.

These statistics highlight the importance of employers being proactive about employee mental health, to get their people the right help at the right time.

It’s essential that people managers can spot the signs of struggling employees, and provide them with the appropriate reasonable adjustments.

Anxiety statistics: painting a concerning picture

The statistics outlined in this article highlight the scale of the public health challenge posed by anxiety, and the key role employers must play in meeting that challenge.

With nearly 60% of employees experiencing symptoms of anxiety, proactively managing employee mental health must be at the forefront of any successful workplace health strategy.

There are many ways that leaders can support employees with anxiety, including:

Uncertainty may be a normal part of life, but with rates of anxiety increasing across the UK, we must all do more to support our colleagues, friends and family.

Download The Workplace Health Report

Other content Karsten has contributed to:

12 Minutes of Workplace Health Podcast Episode #21

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Eating Disorders in the Workplace

Other content Joe Pindar has contributed to:

12 Minutes of Workplace Health Podcast Episode #21

Boosting your wellbeing with nature

Eating Disorders in the Workplace