Money, Work, Family: The mental burdens affecting Irish adults

With Mental Health Awareness Week upon us, we look at the Irish adults who suffer from stress/anxiety or depression and what factors may be behind it.

More than a million people are affected by stress/anxiety

The latest data from Kantar’s TGI consumer study in Republic of Ireland shows that over 1 million adults (30.1% of the population) claim to have suffered with stress/anxiety in the last 12 months and almost 425,000 (12% of the population) say they suffer from depression.

Women are more likely to say they suffer from stress/anxiety, being 23% more likely than the average adult in Ireland to have it. Men are 24% less likely to say they have it, however we must bear in mind that men often have a different outlook on feelings which may make them less likely to acknowledge mental distress. Backing up this view, according to our TGI consumer data, men are 20% more likely than the average adult to agree ‘real men don’t cry’

Social and work pressures affect the young generation

Younger generations are more likely to encounter depression. Our TGI data shows that 15-24-year olds are 21% more likely than the average adult to say they suffer from depression and men with depression are 34% more likely than the average adult to be in this age group. The tendency towards melancholy decreases with age, with those aged 65+ 37% less likely to be suffering from depression.

Work, social media pressures and concerns about appearance could all be compelling contributors to why 15-24-year olds are more likely to encounter depression. 15-24-year olds in the Republic of Ireland are 82% more likely to say they want to get to the very top in their career and 81% more likely to think money is the best measure of success. This motivated behaviour could itself be a source of stress. This age group are also 44% more likely than the average adult to agree that they feel the need to check social media every day and are 31% more likely to agree that it is important to be attractive to others – a potential recipe for critical introspection.

The impact of money, health and family on adults with stress/anxiety

People who are not working due to a long-term illness/disability are understandably 67% more likely to have suffered from stress/anxiety in the last 12 months, whilst those who are a full-time housemaker/housewife are 22% more likely. Money and health both seem to be prominent reasons that impact stress/anxiety and the double whammy of course is they all too often go hand-in-hand. Our TGI consumer data reveals that those who are unemployed due to a long-term illness/disability are 48% more likely than the average adult in the Republic of Ireland to budget for every penny when doing the household shop and 24% more likely to say they are a bargain hunter. They are also 24% more likely to say they should do more about their health and 41% more likely to agree that they are trying to lose weight most of the time – showing that concern for self-wellbeing could easily be a contributing factor to feelings of stress/anxiety.

Pressures inherent in family life may also be contributing factors to stress/anxiety problems. Full time housemakers/housewives are 32% more likely to say that what they want the most in life is to have/raise children but also 34% more likely to agree ‘it’s difficult to say no to my kids’. Women who have suffered from stress/anxiety in the last 12 months are also 30% more likely to be divorced – the disruption to family life could certainly act as a contributing factor to stress/anxiety.

Striking the right mental balance

Thus, varying levels of importance placed on aspects of life could impact mental health issues. Work and social pressures - both online and in physical appearance – money worries and health issues all play their part. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the everyday pressures that contribute to mental distress but being mindful of the triggers can go a long way to alleviating the issue.

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