60% of young people unable to cope due to pressure to succeed

  • 60% of young people (aged 18 to 24) have felt so stressed by pressure to succeed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
  • 47% of young people have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
  • 57% of young people have felt so stressed because of fear of making mistakes they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
  • 39% of young people said they had experienced suicidal feelings because of stress.
  • 29% of young people said they had self-harmed because of high levels of stress.

An online UK stress survey has found that six out of ten young people aged 18–24 have felt so stressed by pressure to succeed they have felt unable to cope.

The survey – commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation – also found that almost half of young people (47%) had experienced significant stress in relation to body image and worries about their appearance.

Almost six out of ten young (57%) of people said they have become stressed because of a fear of making mistakes.

Meanwhile three out of ten (29%) of young people said they had self-harmed as a result of feeling high levels of stress.

A further four out of ten (39%) young people had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress.

The study was commissioned from YouGov to launch Mental Health Awareness Week, which has been run by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001.

The study is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive stress survey ever carried out across the UK with 4,619 people surveyed.

The study is included in a new report by the Mental Health Foundation Stress: are we coping?

Mental Health Foundation Director Mark Rowland said:

"Our survey highlights just how vulnerable young people are to mental health problems. It shows how much pressure young people are feeling to be a success. The pressure to conform to ideal body image is also intense. Moreover, it is shocking how many young people have self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts as a result of stress. 

"Given that three quarters of mental health problems are established in people by the age of 24, it is vital we tackle this as a national priority.

"That is why we are asking for all young people to receive the very best mental health education at all schools to promote their wellbeing and resilience."

UK survey: Total sample size was 4619 adults, of those 520 were aged 18-24. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th March - 20th April 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). (YouGov)

For interviews and further information please contact Cal Strode on 0207 803 1110 or press@mentalhealth.org.uk.