People living with long-term health conditions in Northern Ireland are more likely to experience anxiety that interferes with their daily lives

Location: Northern Ireland

18th May 2023
Mental Health Awareness Week

Data we released in Northern Ireland reveals that anxiety is taking a toll on people who are living with long-term health conditions, as 90% are experiencing anxiety that interferes with their daily lives.

Polling of 1,000 adults in Northern Ireland (conducted on our behalf by Opinium) found almost four in ten adults (38%) in Northern Ireland who are living with a long-term condition felt anxious to the extent that it stopped them from doing what they’d like or need to do. This compares to 23% of the general adult population of Northern Ireland.

Anxiety is the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week as we encourage people to share their experiences and the things that have helped them. We are also sharing guidance to help people cope with feelings of anxiety.

Karen Hall, Head of Northern Ireland for the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“Living with a long-term physical health condition is challenging, putting you at increased risk of poor mental health, including anxiety and depression. That’s why we’ve been working with Healthy Living Centre Alliance across Northern Ireland on the Mental Health for Better Days project. The project has co-designed an evidence-based mental health well-being module within the Healthy Living Centres Alliances’ award-winning Better Days Pain support programme.”

Learn more about the Mental Health for Better Days programme

Tony Doherty, Regional Coordinator at Healthy Living Centre Alliance, said:

“The partnership with the Mental Health Foundation is enabling us to further develop our work on mental health across the network, which is vital, as we see the impact of uncertain times in the communities across the North and particularly for those with long-term health conditions.

“Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, the events that the centres are hosting will allow people to come together and connect by doing activities including mindfulness walks, t’ai chi, and community networking. They will provide space for communities and staff to have conversations on mental health.”

“We hope that by having a conversation about anxiety during Mental Health Awareness Week, people will better understand how anxiety affects them, what they can do to help manage anxiety, and feel more comfortable in seeking support.”

We hope that our Mental Health Awareness Week campaign can give people an opportunity to speak out about how anxiety affects them, share their experiences, get tips and advice for how to manage feelings of anxiety and find out about what further support is available.

We are the home of Mental Health Awareness Week

Learn more about the week and read our report about anxiety in the UK.
Learn more about Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week - 15 to 21 May 2023


Notes to editors

For further information and interview requests, please [email protected] .

About polling

Polling of 1000 adults aged 18+ in Northern Ireland was conducted by Opinium between 24 March and 3 April 2023. Figures are weighted to be nationally representative.

About Mental Health Awareness Week

About the Mental Health Foundation

  • Our vision is for good mental health for all.
  • The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems.
  • We drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk.
  • Mental Health Foundation is committed to promoting an anti-racist, inclusive community where we can all be ourselves.
  • The Mental Health Foundation relies on voluntary donations to provide evidence-based advice and carry out vital work to prevent poor mental health.

About the Healthy Living Centre Alliance

  • The Healthy Living Centre Alliance is an award-winning network of 28 community-led health improvement organisations based in areas of high health inequalities throughout the north of Ireland, both rural and urban. Healthy Living Centres are rooted in localities from Castlederg to Kilkeel and from Coleraine to South Armagh. They are a key driver in connecting people to services and linking the health sector and wider public sector up to working-class communities.
  • The HLC Alliance places great value on our community development and assets-based approach to well-being and health. Our members thrive upon empowering people to take more control over their personal health, promoting an ethos of peer-led self-management for people with long-term conditions.
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