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Anxiety nation? Economic insecurity and mental distress in 2020s Britain

Has Britain become an ‘insecure society’? Is anxiety running out of control? If so, could the two things be connected?

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This study looks at the shaky foundations of material life for many people, and highlights a worrying increase in the markers of mental ill-health. It examines links between the two, documenting the way economic exposure leaves people far more vulnerable to a range of worrying mental health markers.

What you need to know

  • On 12 different markers of mental health problems – from sleep loss to impeded social life – renters raised the flag for distress much more often than homeowners, and on 10 of the 12, more than twice as often.
  • Those with minimal savings reliably reported far more distress than substantial savers, with twice as many admitting to taking less care at work, and three times as many reporting feeling worthless.
  • All sorts of reforms, from those relating to the rental market to workplace changes, could bolster economic security – and, on the face of our findings, bring serious benefits for mental health too.