Almost half of people say their mental wellbeing is of ‘real concern’ to them

  • One in 10 Irish adults say they struggle every day with anxiety
  • Money worries is the No.1 cause of anxiety
  • The majority of Irish people think stigma still exists around those suffering with anxiety


Wednesday, 26th September 2018.  Almost half of Irish people (44 per cent) say their mental wellbeing is of real concern for them, while one in 10 people (11 per cent) claim everyday struggles get on top of them, according to new research released today by laya healthcare to mark Mental Health Week (7 – 13th October).

Stigma around anxiety is still a problem according to the majority of Irish people (75 per cent), with one in four (42 per cent) experiencing anxiety feeling they’d be judged by work colleagues if they knew, and 82 per cent of people agreeing that the conversation around mental health in Ireland needs to change.

Money worries is the no. 1 issue that causes anxiety in almost half of all Irish people (49 per cent), followed by poor sleep (46 per cent), being overweight (43 per cent) and spending time on social media (20 per cent) all having a negative effect. Worryingly, one in ten (11 per cent) rate their own mental wellbeing as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.

Top 10 things that negatively impact our mental wellbeing
1. Finances - 49%
2. Poor sleep - 46%
3. My weight - 43%
4. Getting enough exercise - 21%
5. My work environment - 21%
6. Social media - 20%
7. Work life balance - 17%
8. Relationship with spouse/partner - 13%
9. Drinking too much alcohol - 10%
10. My ability to do my job - 9%

Commenting on the research, Counselling Psychologist, Dr. Sarah O’Neill who is the clinical lead for laya healthcare’s 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme said: “The findings really shine a light on the need to open up the conversation around mental wellbeing in Ireland and the supports available to people. Knowing and understanding what triggers feelings of anxiety can help prevent or manage it but also knowing there is help at hand is hugely important.”


Impact of anxiety

The impact of living with anxiety was revealed by the research with over half (56 per cent) struggling to sleep, while almost a third of people feel ‘hopeless about the future’.  Worryingly, one in five (17 per cent) drink more alcohol to help them feel better, with one in ten (14 per cent) taking sick leave from work. Sadly, five per cent of those surveyed have lost a job because of their anxiety.


Top 5 Impacts of anxiety
1. Difficulty sleeping - 56%
2. Difficulty concentrating - 34%
3. Feeling completely hopeless about the future - 32%
4. Alienating myself from friends and family - 25%
5. Created problems with my family - 21%

Who do people turn to for help?

Half of Irish people would confide in their spouse or partner with their worries, with over one in ten people (13 per cent) choosing their friends to talk to. Worryingly, almost one in ten choose to keep their worries under wraps and tell no one (9 per cent).

Only one in four have sought help from a professional counsellor (28 per cent), with one in three (37 per cent) not comfortable talking to a stranger about their problems, and one in four (26 per cent) thinking it would be too expensive.

Two in three (64 per cent) of Irish adults know someone who regularly struggles with their mental wellbeing.


Popular ways to improve mental wellbeing

The survey also examined the activities Irish adults engage in to help boost their mental wellbeing, revealing that exercise is the nation’s favourite way to relieve stress, with more than half (52 per cent) of people getting active to improve their mood.

Socialising with friends (40 per cent), watching TV (40 per cent) and reading (39 per cent) also feature prominently and given our rich culture in music, it’s not surprising that almost half (49 per cent) of people listen to music to improve their mental wellbeing. 

Sex is the preferred way for one in five (22 per cent) to enhance their mood, ranking ahead of mindfulness exercises (12 per cent).


About laya healthcare’s 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme

Launched in July, laya healthcare’s 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme provides members, who have joined or renewed on or after July 1st 2018, with access to a nationwide network of fully qualified, accredited and experienced counsellors and psychotherapists to help with everyday issues that may be impacting their wellbeing. Members can also access a panel of experts experienced in a variety of fields, including financial and tax advisors, legal professionals, career counsellors and more. For more go to



For more information, contact:

Ciarán Curran, H+A Marketing + PR. Tel.: 021 466 6200 | 083 106 1193

Notes to editor 

Research was carried out by Empathy Research on behalf of laya healthcare amongst 1,000 Irish adults aged 18+ in August 2018. 


About laya healthcare


Laya healthcare is the second largest provider of private health insurance in Ireland with over half a million members. Laya healthcare offers some of the most innovative benefits in the Irish health insurance market along with life insurance ( and travel insurance ( Its brand promise, Looking After You Always, represents laya healthcare’s member-centric approach, which is fundamental to its vision and values.


In 2015 laya healthcare proudly became part of AIG, one of the strongest insurance organisations in the world with over 90 million customers in 100 countries and jurisdictions. With their experienced team and innovative insurance solutions, along with AIG’s financial backing, global expertise and long-term commitment to Ireland, laya healthcare expect to go from strength to strength, widening their offering and bringing value and innovation to Ireland’s insurance market.


Health insurance provided by Elips Insurance Ltd trading as Laya Healthcare. Laya Healthcare Ltd trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Life insurance provided by IptiQ Life SA. Travel insurance provided by AIG Europe Limited