Money, Relationships and Health

Survey reveals top worries for Londoners in 2009

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Forty-three percent of Londoners have worried this year about debt and money, according to a survey published today by Samaritans and YouGov, with a quarter of people (25%) describing 2009 as a bad year or their worst year ever.

The poll of more than 2,000 people across the UK asked the public to identify their five biggest worries over the past year. After money, the other top-five sources of anxiety for people in London were relationship problems with family and friends (34% of people), physical health concerns (30%), workplace stress (29%) and fears about job security (24%).


“2009 has been a difficult year for many people,” said John Royle, Director of Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Samaritans, “with the country’s financial situation causing a lot of stress. As we prepare for 2010 it is important to remember that the year is not yet over, and for many more people the holiday season can be the worst time of all.”


Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Samaritans, like all branches in the UK, will be offering emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the holiday period, as they do throughout the year.


“We hope anyone who feels overwhelmed by their problems or needs to talk about the issues they’re facing will call or email us so they can express their feelings in confidence,” John concluded.


Other key findings of the survey were:

  • Appearance or ageing (22%), domestic politics (22%) and world affairs (21%) featured in Londoners’ top worries
  • For 18% of Londoners, loneliness was one of their biggest fears; this was the highest rate for any region in the UK aside from Northern Ireland (21%)
  • London had the most people in the UK, alongside the East Midlands, worried about not being in a relationship or lack of a sex life (17%) compared with 12% nationally
  • The city also had more people worried about neighbourhood issues (13%) than anywhere else in the UK aside from the North East (14%)
  • Sport and how their favourite team were doing was only a top worry for 4% of Londoners compared with 10% of Scots
  • While 25% of people described 2009 as a bad year, for 19% 2009 was a good year; 38% thought the year had been both good and bad, featuring ups and downs.

Samaritans’ Chief Executive Catherine Johnstone said:

“In the last year, Samaritans received five million calls and many of them were about the worries identified in this survey, with approximately one in every ten calls linked to financial stress.

If people don’t talk about their problems, they can build up over time and spiral into more serious emotional distress. Sharing your troubles can be a huge relief and is often the first step to finding a way of coping with the challenges that life throws at all of us. Samaritans’ trained volunteers are available 24/7 to offer confidential support to anyone feeling anxious, unhappy or distressed this Christmas and throughout the coming year.”


December 16th, 2009