To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, the theme of which is Anxiety, we are publishing a new report, ‘Anxiety in the UK: Exploring data from the Shout text support service to give insight into anxiety and effective coping skills to manage it.’
For this report we analysed anonymised data associated with more than 300,000 conversations with Shout texters about anxiety. We used a combination of cutting-edge data science combined with qualitative psychological techniques. This approach has revealed insights into the underlying themes raised in conversations about anxiety and the most popular resources and coping skills texters use to help manage their anxiety.
Over the past 5 years, anxiety has consistently been one of the most common issues that people contact Shout about, making up 30% of all conversations. Key findings from the report are:
- Texters who contact Shout about anxiety are also often experiencing low mood, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. Self-harm is also commonly seen, particularly amongst younger texters.
- Because Shout is a 24/7 service, people contact us at all times. Demand from people contacting us about anxiety peaks between 6pm-10pm, when people are often alone with their thoughts and worried about the future.
- Over three quarters of people who contact Shout about anxiety are female. Texters are of all ages, from 13 or under to over 65 years old, although the majority (65%) are under 25 years old.
- Our analyses find that amongst adults, anxiety is often related to finances, relationships, ill-health, trauma and work stress. Amongst young texters, anxiety is often related to school-related pressure, bullying, family arguments and conflict, and traumatic experiences. Recent widespread concerns about global issues such as the COVID-19 lockdowns and the war in Ukraine caused feelings of uncertainty and heightened levels of anxiety in both adults and children.
- The most common coping skills that texters use to help with their anxiety include: sleep; talking to friends, family, and other trusted adults; listening to music; taking exercise, including walking and spending time with pets; and journaling, mindfulness activities, breathing exercises, and distraction techniques.
- Popular resources that texters use to help with their anxiety include guides on: anxiety; grounding techniques; breathing exercises; and mindfulness.
Following the findings of the report Shout and the Premier League have collaborated to launch a keyword partnership providing access to the Shout service for anyone in the UK experiencing anxiety by texting ‘TeamTalk’ to 85258 and also producing the Inside Matters Handbook, a book of skills and advice for managing symptoms of anxiety which will be made available online ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Read the report.