British people’s level of life satisfaction and the feeling that life is worthwhile has fallen for the first time since records began in 2011.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal life satisfaction in the UK dropped from 7.71 out of 10 in the third quarter of 2018 to 7.66 out of 10 in the third quarter of 2019.
The feeling that life is worthwhile fell from 7.9 out of 10 to 7.86.
The data also shows Brits are more worried about the economic outlook than any time since 2011 and are more worried that unemployment is set to rise than any time since 2013.
Meanwhile, 10.6 million people reported high anxiety.
Louise Aston, wellbeing director of Business in the Community, said the data underlines the human impact of relentless political and economic uncertainty.
“For both life satisfaction and worthwhile ratings to fall sharply on the previous year for the first time shows how political and economic turbulence can have a powerful effect on people’s mental health,” she warned.
Aston said it’s more important than ever that employers acknowledge that many employees will be experiencing elevated anxiety and a deterioration in their personal wellbeing.
She said businesses need to foster a culture that proactively supports the wellbeing of their people by providing environments where colleagues can make informed choices about taking care of their physical, mental, financial and social health.
“It’s also crucial that employers foster organisational cultures where it’s okay not to be okay and where people can talk openly without fear of stigma,” she added.
Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, said the deterioration in personal wellbeing is not good for the individual, but it also has implications for the wider economy.
“With financial concerns of working adults only set to grow, it’s in UK plc’s interest to consider flexible solutions to ease concerns,” he stated.