Stressed Scotland: 74% of Scotland 'overwhelmed or unable to cope' in past year

74% of Scottish adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

  • 80% of women said this compared to 68 percent of men.
  • 83% of 18-24 year-olds said this compared to 66 percent aged 55 and over.

35% of adults said they had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress

  • 35% of women said this compared to 34 percent of men.
  • 33% of 18-24 year-olds said this compared to 26 percent aged 55 and over.

16% of adults said they had self-harmed as a result of stress.

  • 21% of women said this compared to 11 percent of men.
  • 24% of 18-24 year-olds said this compared to 7 percent aged 55 and over.

A Scotland-wide stress survey has found that almost three quarters of adults (74%) have at some point over the past year felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

The survey – commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation - also found that more than a third of people (35%) had experienced suicidal thoughts or feeling because of stress.

Meanwhile one sixth of people (16%) said they had self-harmed as a result of feelings of stress.

The study was commissioned by YouGov to launch Mental Health Awareness week which has been run by the Mental Health Foundation for the past 18 years. The study has a sample size of 1,012 people.

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

Further findings about stress and young people will be released later in the week (Wednesday 16 May)

Lee Knifton, Head of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, said:

"Very large numbers of adults in Scotland are experiencing high levels of stress and it is damaging our health. Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns. 

"Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. 

"Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn how to respond most effectively.

"But we also need to change at a societal level. This includes ensuring that employers treat stress and mental health problems as seriously as physical safety.

"We are also asking for well-being days to be provided to public sector workers as part of reducing the pressure on those who work hardest to look after us."

In addition

  • For the first time, the week will be marked by the lighting up in green of several Scottish landmarks and public buildings. Buildings include Edinburgh Castle, SSE Hydro, Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, King's College Chapel in Aberdeen, the Ness Bridge in Inverness, Slessor Gardens and Seabraes Bridge in Dundee and Dumfries and Galloway Council headquarters in Dumfries. Green is the internationally established colour for mental health. The buildings will light up on the evening of Monday 14 May.
  • The Mental Health Foundation is running the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival – the world's biggest mental health arts festival – across the period.
  • High-profile celebrities and public figures including the First Minister will be wearing the Green Ribbon pin badges in Holyrood in support of mental health awareness.