A new survey by the Office For National Statistics shows that Prestonians are amongst the “Happiest” and “Least Anxious”. Apparently.
The survey is carried our every year across the country and attempts to gauge people’s well-being and happiness. People aged 16+ are included and are asked to rate their level of anxiety over a single day.
The rankings go from 0 being “Not at all anxious” to 10 being “Completely anxious”.
Preston scored 2.35 during the year 2018-19 which is among the lowest in any area – Showing a high level of happiness and a low level of anxiety.
Figures for the north west as a whole are at 2.78.
Anxiety levels across the UK, according to the study, have fallen from the first readings in 2011.
People taking part in the survey were also asked to rate their happiness. People in Preston scored 7.77, which is slightly higher than the national average of 7.56.
Mark Winstanley, chief executive of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said the rise in happiness scores and drop in those for anxiety could mean people are investing more in looking after their mental health.
“However, it’s important that we do not conflate improved well-being with a reduction in people experiencing a mental illness,” he added.
“For every person that’s reportedly feeling less anxious, there is another that’s just been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, with many struggling to get the care and treatment they need.
“As a charity we’re still seeing plenty of people seeking help from our services, support groups and advice line, and it’s clear that there’s plenty of work left to do.”
A spokeswoman for mental health charity Mind cautioned that well-being levels can vary around the country, and can be affected by different factors.
“Poverty, isolation, housing and access to green spaces, for example, can all affect our mental health,” she added.
“While life events such as job losses, which might happen to many people in one community at a time, can also play a part.”