Research has found Brits’ happiness is at a rock bottom low not seen in over a decade as the cost-of-living crisis hits the nation’s mood as well as their wallets.

According to the annual LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index, the combined Health, Wealth and Happiness Index fell 11% over the last year dipping close to the record lows seen during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

One in four people (25%) are less happy today than a year ago, while 32% of Brits say their mental health and wellbeing has worsened in the last 12 months. More than half of respondents say they feel worse off than a year ago and the research shows that the rising cost-of-living is the biggest driver of poor mental health for 44% of Brits (rising to 51% of women).

The study also found that Brits with a lot of screen time are far less happy overall and are almost twice as likely to report poorer mental health. On average, Brits spend a staggering 28 hours a week on a screen (excluding work and school/education), averaging four hours a day, while almost one in ten spend over 6 hours a day on a screen on workdays and weekends (8%, 9% respectively). Only 4% of adults spend less than an hour on a screen per week for leisure.

Two-fifths (41%) of those with the most screen time on weekdays (6 hours+) say their mental health has worsened in the last year, compared to just 30% of those who spend less than two hours a day on a screen. Furthermore, one in three (32%) of those with the most screen time each weekday (6 hours+) say they are less happy today vs the same time last year compared to 23% of those who spend less than two hours a day on a screen.

In the last 12 months, the Wealth Index fell by a further 15%, well below historic values, and hitting even lower values than during the pandemic. In Q3 2022, the cost-of-living crisis brought the LifeSearch Wealth Index to a near record low in the series, before a partial recovery in the last six months led by stock market growth, continued labour market stability and improving household perceptions.

Looking ahead to the next few months, Brits expect to be £233 worse off each on average per month due to inflation, rising to £264 pm among men, £366 pm among the under 35s and £546 pm among Londoners. One in three (30%) of Brits, rising to 35% of women, state that money and the cost-of-living is likely to have the biggest negative impact on their mental health in the year ahead.

Nina Skero, Chief Executive, Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) who was commissioned to produce the Index for LifeSearch, commented:

The latest edition of the Health, Wealth and Happiness Index shows that 2022/23 was a tough period for households. We expect pressures to persist in the coming year, especially in terms of inflation and spending power.

Nevertheless, the outlook is somewhat rosier than was the case at the turn of the year, with consumers showing considerable resilience in the face of troublesome economic conditions. This provides some hope that the depths of 2022/23 will not be repeated and that the Index’s components can return to improvement.

Nina Skero, Chief Executive, Centre for Economics and Business Research

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and Family History Zone. After obtaining a bachelors degree in English literature and media studies, Joanne went on to spend two years of her life writing and teaching English in China and Vietnam. Prior to joining Black and White Trading, Joanne was a marketing coordinator for luxury property in Brighton focusing on blog writing, photography and video creation.