Stress Statistics UK: 2022

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Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure and we experience it day-to-day. But what do the numbers say about stress in the UK? In this article, we’re going to find out as we dive into the latest data and stress statistics.

Too much stress affects our mood, body and our relationships. It can make us feel anxious and irritable, and even lower our self-esteem. That’s why it’s crucial that we can gain a clear and data-driven view of how stress affects us.

In this article, you’ll discover stress statistics for the entire UK population. You’ll also be introduced to how stress affects the working population.

Stress statistics

Stress has a larger impact on our society than many might think. Read on for our top picks of the latest stress statistics for the entire UK population:

  • The most common cause of stress is work-related stress with 79% saying they frequently felt it (Statistica)
  • One in 14 UK adults (7%) feel stressed every single day (CIPHR)
  • 30% of older people reported never feeling overwhelmed due to stress, compared to just 7% of young adults (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • 74% of people feel so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • Inpatient hospital admissions caused by stress-related illnesses in the UK cost around £8.13bn (Statistica)
  • 1 in 3 cite relationships as an external stressor (The Workplace Health Report: 2022)
  • 46% say that they eat too much or too unhealthily due to stress (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • 29% say that due to stress they started drinking or increased their drinking (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • 16% say that they started smoking or increased their smoking due to stress (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% reported feeling anxious (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • Of those experiencing stress, 16% had self-harmed and 32% said they had experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • 37% of adults who reported feeling stressed also felt lonely as a result (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)

As the first statistic reveals, when many of us think of stress, we think of the workplace. With that in mind, let’s look at how stress affects us at work and what the data says about it.

Employee stress statistics

Stress in work is often unavoidable. In fact, it’s likely that you perceive a certain amount of stress to be acceptable, motivating or even healthy.

But when levels of stress become unmanageable, it becomes an issue which can damage both your performance and your health.

Read on for our top picks of employee stress statistics from third-party organisations:

  • 13.7 million working days are lost each year in the UK because of work-related stress, anxiety and depression, costing £28.3 billion yearly (NICE)
  • 60% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds feel pressured to succeed, versus just 17% of 45-54 year olds and 6% of over 55s (Mental Health Foundation and YouGov)
  • 23% of adults say that work causes them stress (CIPHR)

The Workplace Health Report: 2022 also revealed an up-to-date view of the impact and prevalence of stress on UK employees.

The results revealed four key employee stress statistics:

  1. 33% of employees report moderate-to-high or high levels of stress
  2. 28% report that high levels of stress impact productivity
  3. The top cause of work-related stress is workload (78%)
  4. 56% agree that the perfect amount of stress enables them to thrive

Read on to explore this data in more detail.

1. 33% of employees report moderate-to-high or high levels of stress

The Workplace Health Report: 2022 revealed how UK professionals are impacted by stress. The most common self-reported stress level is moderate at 34%, followed by moderate-to-high at 26%.

Our data also shows that 9% of employees report low levels of stress, while just 7% report high levels of stress.

Stress statistics showing self reported level of stress in UK employees

2. 28% report that high levels of stress impact productivity

Everybody’s capacity to manage stress is different, which raises the importance of an individualised approach to stress management within organisations.

For example, we revealed that over one third of employees reported that the stress they experienced at work was having a negative impact on them, and 28% reported that high stress was impacting their productivity.

3. The top cause of work-related stress is workload (78%)

Champion’s data shows that by far the most common source of stress for employees is workload, with other commonly cited issues including lack of support, lack of control and senior staff members.

Read this article for a closer look at the data below: Top causes of stress at work.

Stress statistics showing causes of negative stress at work

4. 56% agree that the perfect amount of stress enables them to thrive

Employers are always striving to find the sweet spot in which employees are productive and challenged – but not at the expense of their health or happiness.

It’s important to recognise that stress isn’t always “bad”; it can help to motivate and drive employees forward to meet the challenges of their role. In fact, 1 in 2 employees from our sample agreed with this.

Stress statistics showing perception of steress at work

“Champion’s data reflects every employee’s unique relationship with stress. Regardless of this, for almost all aspects of an individual’s health and wellbeing, effective stress management or stress reduction is a quick route to improved health across the board.

“In tackling stress at work, consider that human beings have three universal psychological needs. These are autonomy (feeling like you’re in control and have choice and flexibility), competence (having an optimal level of challenge and being confident in your ability to complete a task) and relatedness (feeling connected and that you are cared for). When any of these are not present, negative stress can quickly arise,” writes Dan Craig, Wellbeing Lead at Champion Health.

Stress statistics: it affects us all

Whether it’s our personal lives, workload, time pressures or anything else, the world is full of stressors. Even those living fulfilling lives with rewarding careers will experience stress day-to-day.

But there are things we can all do to support our wellbeing and help maintain positive levels of stress. See the following resources for more information:

Regardless of how you experience stress, remember that support is out there.

Other content Karsten has contributed to:

12 Minutes of Workplace Health Podcast Episode #21

Boosting your wellbeing with nature

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