Levels of happiness and life satisfaction fall as anxiety levels increase
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Life satisfaction and happiness levels have dropped in North Somerset in the past year, according to research from the Office for National Statistics.
The survey, which covers the 12 months to the end of March, asked people aged 16 and over to rate four areas of their personal wellbeing.
Three areas – happiness, life satisfaction and sense of worth – were ranked on a scale from zero to 10.
The average happiness score for respondents in the district was 7.43, a drop from 2016-17 when happiness was at 7.57. There were also declines in other areas of well-being, life satisfaction scored lower than last year and anxiety levels rose to 2.83.
According to the research, people’s views about their health, employment, and relationship status are the factors most likely to impact how they rate their personal wellbeing.
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Bad health was the most significant factor associated with poor wellbeing, followed by being economically inactive with a long-term illness or disability.
Since the survey began in 2011-12, people have reported feeling less happy year-on-year.
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Overall, 75 per cent of people in the district ranked their happiness between seven and 10, compared to 75.4 per cent in the UK.
Mental health charity Second Step, which has an office in Weston, launched a service last month which offers a programme of workshops, courses and activities including wellbeing cafés.
Service manager Hannah Young said: “It’s great to see so many people in the district ranking themselves as happy and it’s always hard to pinpoint why people are a little less happy this year than last.
“However, we know there are many people who struggle with their mental health for a variety of reasons from relationship breakdown, through to debt and job loss or uncertainty.
“We set up our wellbeing service to offer people the opportunity to understand their mental health better and to discover ways to take control of their own wellbeing and start to feel better and happier too.
“We know happiness comes through a sense of connection, with ourselves, our friends and family and other close relationships and with our community.”