28/05/2003

One in seven NI people 'stressed out'

One in seven people in Northern Ireland say that they feel stressed every day, a new report has revealed.

The Stressed Out 2003 survey, carried out by MORI Social Research Institute for Samaritans, finds money (38%) highlighted as the main cause of stress.

The survey also found that people’s jobs or workplace (36%), families and fears about theirs or a loved one’s health (both 29%) are among the main causes of stress. The results also show there is concern about the level of violence in society (16%) and fears for the future of our young people (21%).

The research found that more than half of all people say they feel more stress now than they did five years ago.

Just over 40% of those who have felt stressed reported feeling down or depressed for a while, but 4% saids that they had felt suicidal – as a direct result of stress.

The war in Iraq has also been upsetting for over half (56%) of stressed people in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the figures, Eileen Jones, regional representative for Samaritans in Ireland said: "The results of the survey show that stress is causing feelings that can, in the long run, lead to emotional distress if not tackled. It also indicates rising levels of stress and more worryingly a considerable percentage of people who choose methods of stress relief which don’t tackle the root causes of the problem – particularly younger people who are shown in the survey try more frequently to put their stress to one side by watching TV or smoking than older people.

“We would urge people to try to deal with stress positively instead of ignoring it. Samaritans believes that bottling-up how you feel or not taking notice of your feelings could lead to more severe emotional distress in the long run. Through talking about problems with an organisation like Samaritans, it is possible to gain perspective and this can help people to find a way through.”

Figures dealing with how people coped with stress, the most popular method of calming down was by watching TV or listening to music (37%). However, 15% of stressed people opt not to do anything about their stress.

(MB)

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