Anxiety and stress in working professionals has increased

A study involving 4,383 employees has uncovered a rise in anxiety and stress levels among professionals, with a third reporting a constant state of tension.

The recent findings from global workplace wellbeing provider Champion Health offer a glimpse into the state of worker health and wellbeing from January to October 2023.

In the realm of anxiety, while women are more commonly affected (68%), the incidence in men has sharply risen from 38% in 2022 to 60% in 2023. Financial concerns have increasingly become a primary stressor outside of work, now affecting 41% of people, up from 37% the previous year. This issue is particularly pronounced among male employees, with 42% feeling the financial strain, compared to 36% last year.

Alarmingly, the prevalence of stress in 16-24-year-olds at work has doubled since last year, and this age group also reports heightened financial stress, rising from 34% to 46%.

Champion Health’s annual report also highlighted several other concerning trends:

  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm have risen to 13%, a significant increase from 8% in 2021 and 9% in 2022
  • 40% of young people aged 16-24 are experiencing anxiety at clinically significant levels
  • Workplace stress is affecting 38% of employees
  • 53% feel down, depressed, or hopeless
  • There's an uptick in physical health symptoms: 64% suffer from eye strain, 46% from tired eyes, and 34% experience headaches during work

Harry Bliss, CEO of Champion Health comments: “It’s no surprise that the last few years have been extremely tough on employees. The fact that workers experiencing suicidal thoughts are continuing to rise year-on-year is distressing, and a 44% increase from last year is a statistic that cannot be ignored. The reality is that in a workforce of 1,000 staff, 130 will be having thoughts about taking their own lives, which could have a devastating impact.

“Our report shows financial pressure is affecting more people – especially younger people. However, the wellbeing scores correlate with the person’s relationship with money – the healthier your understanding of finances, ability to budget and how you feel about money, the more positive your wellbeing is likely to be. In our report, financial expert Ryan Briggs mentions the importance of creating a psychologically safe space to talk about money in the workplace – in the same way we are for mental health. This is an important message for business leaders to empower their people with knowledge about managing finances.

“On a personal level, I’m happy to see that people who have access to the Champion Health platform are feeling healthier, happier, and supported at work. The data shows the prevalence of low mood symptoms decreased by 12% after using Champion Health for six months or longer, as well as a 16% rise in people saying they feel supported at work after accessing Champion Health resources. That has been our purpose from day one and this data demonstrates support from Employee Assistance Programmes is needed now more than ever.” 

Laura Dallas, Head of Product at Champion Health who played a key role in analysing the data behind the report, comments: “For me, the most exciting trend is the positive impact the Champion Health platform is having on employee wellbeing. Even though symptoms of anxiety and low mood are rising, these difficulties are less prevalent in those using the platform. We also show that employees feel more supported and part of a team after their organisation partners with us.

“These encouraging results emphasise the significance of early intervention in creating a supportive and resilient workplace. By giving employees the right tools at the right time, they can take control of their wellbeing and make it a priority – especially when employers promote a culture that normalises the wellbeing conversation.

“What lies ahead of us in 2024 is uncertain, but one thing I'm sure of is that a continued prioritisation of proactive initiatives is going to be crucial in fostering healthier, more resilient workforces.”

The Workplace Health Report: 2024, a collaboration with experts in occupational health, mental health, physiotherapy, fitness, finance, and female health, is available for viewing at