Happiness levels in the UK were the lowest on record this January, according to Office for National Statistics
January 2021 has been described as the ‘saddest on record', after ONS figures showed happiness falling lower than the previous lowest figures of 2012, when the UK entered its first double-dip recession since the 1970s.
Analysis of the data by Sheffield based health and wellbeing provider Champion Health revealed an average happiness score of only 6.4 out of 10 during last month, compared to 7.4 in January 2020.
The figures also showed that 56% of adults now feel their wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic, the highest figure since March 2020.
More than half (54%) of those employed, many of them working remotely due to lockdown restrictions, said their working life is being affected by coronavirus.
Research involving 2,099 employees, conducted by Champion Health, revealed that 90% were impacted in some way mentally by the Covid crisis, with 40% revealing that this impact was moderate to significant.
Some 58% experienced at least mild symptoms of depression between January and December last year and around 69% suffered moderate to high levels of stress, the study also showed. A quarter (26%) of employees surveyed experienced moderate to severe anxiety during 2020.
Meanwhile, ONS stats suggest the situation is only going to get worse, with 42% of adults reporting high levels of anxiety in January alone.
Harry Bliss, CEO and founder of Champion Health, said: "Although it's not entirely surprising, we are concerned that the majority of employees in the UK struggled with their mental health in 2020. From home-schooling, through to finding new ways of working, the pandemic has been tough for all of us, and there have been cracks appearing in workplace health.
"Whilst we have seen a shift in focus towards employee wellbeing in some organisations, it is still low down on the agenda for others. With these figures indicating that the crisis could worsen, I'm urging all employers to prioritise their people's wellbeing, and to train both themselves and their employees to spot the warning signs of poor mental health and risk. It makes sense from any angle you view it from."
According to Champion Health, the ONS data has been gathered from its Personal well-being in the UK report and Opinions and Lifestyle Survey which, since May last year, has been focused on understanding the impact of coronavirus on daily life in the UK.
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