The Telegraph

Monday 16 October 2000

One in ten believe their lives are not worth living

By Sally Pook
The Daily Telegraph

TEN per cent of the population believe they would be better off dead, according to a survey.

Many feel unappreciated and dissatisfied at home and work and many others think that life is passing them by. One in five people often worry about becoming seriously mentally ill. The gloom-laden state of Britons' emotions is highlighted in a survey by a medical web site, which found that a quarter of the population saw no hope for the future.

The young, often seen as carefree, are also tormented by worry, with many concerned about school work and nearly two-thirds of girls aged between 10 and 15 fretting about their weight. Nearly one in five girls said they had skipped breakfast the morning they were questioned in a separate survey by the Schools Health Education Unit.

Many 14- and 15-year-olds of both sexes think they need to lose weight, but only 13 per cent are clinically overweight. Appearance is the major concern for teenage girls. By the time they reach 15, half of all girls are concerned about the way they look, compared with 21 per cent of boys. More than a quarter of boys aged 15 said they would like to lose some pounds.

One in four boys doing their first year of GCSEs said they worried about work, compared with 15 per cent of 10- and 11-year-olds. Girls are even more troubled, with the percentage saying that school work is a problem, rising to 36 per cent between the ages of 11 and 15. The education unit said there had been a "marked rise" in worry about schooling over the past four years, which may reflect the increasing pressure young people are under to do well in exams.

For the third year running, the education unit found that fewer young people admitted to having taken cannabis. The web site survey found that not all was doom and gloom in the matter of emotions. Its findings showed that the happiest section of the population was likely to be single. Almost 3.5 million people aged 25 to 44 have no steady relationship, but they do not conform to the picture often painted of sad and lonely types. Nine out of 10 said they loved the single life.

Christine Webber, the psychotherapist who carried out the survey, said: "Sadly, it comes as no surprise to me that so many people are unhappy at home and work. It seems that people's lives do not live up to their extremely high expectations."

She said: "It is particularly worrying to see so many people dwelling on morbid thoughts, with a large proportion just plainly exhausted by life." One in four people said they were unhappy in their jobs, while one in three felt exhausted, unappreciated or underpaid. In relationships, a quarter of respondents were dissatisfied with their sex lives.

Ten per cent of men said they were emotionally, verbally or physically abused by their wives or girlfriends. For women the figure was six per cent. But when asked whether it was possible to be happy outside a relationship, three times as many men as women said no.


External Links

News - Schools Health Education Unit, University of Exeter

Samaritans

Stress UK

Other Stories

10 October 2000: [International] Depression may increase the risk of heart disease

9 October 2000: Suicides by young men treble in Scotland

10 September 2000: Student suicide rate reaches 140 a year, says report

13 June 2000: Student found dead after sitting finals

6 March 2000: Half of all women 'think of suicide'

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