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Anxiety the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week

Published: 12 May 2014

In contrast to the popular belief that older people are more likely to feel isolated and lonely, research from our recent Health Check UK report reveals that 18-24 year olds in the UK are suffering significantly more from feelings of loneliness than any other generation.

The report’s top findings –

• Over a quarter of 18-24 year olds suffered anxiety in the last year
• 48% of 18-24 year olds say they often feel lonely
• Constant social network connection doing little to alleviate loneliness
• Panic attacks common for one in seven 18-24 year olds

Despite being continually connected through social networks, or perhaps because of this, just under half (48%) of 18-24 year olds said they often feel lonely, compared to a quarter (25%) of people aged over 65 and a UK average across all ages of 34%.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (12th-18th May), which this year focuses on educating people on the issue of anxiety, data from our survey of 2,000 UK adults also shows that anxiety is highest amongst the younger generation.

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF), who run the annual Mental Health Awareness Week campaign, has highlighted anxiety problems as one of the world’s most common causes of mental illness.

Common symptoms for those who are struggling with anxiety include increased heart rate, difficulty when breathing and palpitations. Psychologically, they are likely to feel as though they are detached from their environment or want to run away from situations they are in.

According to official figures, long-term anxiety affects around one in 25 people in the UK, with women aged between 35 and 55 being the most susceptible to the condition.

Aviva’s recently released Health Check UK report, gauges the state of the nation's wellbeing, and looks to gain an understanding of how different demographics are managing the pressures of modern life, as well as what needs to be done to improve the population's health.

Commenting on the findings of the Health Check UK report, Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director at Aviva, said: “The challenges and uncertainties faced by young people moving into adulthood today are many, and for some can lead to the onset of mental health problems. What’s equally worrying is that the stigma around mental health still exists amidst vulnerable young people and this lack of understanding is preventing many from seeking the help they really should be getting”.

For further information download the Aviva Health Check UK report.

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