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The UK is the world’s second-most miserable country, as per research

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A recent mental wellbeing report reveals that the United Kingdom is currently one of the least content places globally, surpassed only by Uzbekistan. As the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strain of the cost-of-living crisis persist, Britain finds itself in the 70th position out of 71 countries for overall mental wellbeing, with a concerning average score of 49 compared to the global average of 65.

The study, conducted by the US-based Sapien Labs think tank, examined factors such as mood, social self, drive, adaptability, cognition, and mind-body connection. With responses from over 500,000 individuals across 71 countries, the research attributes the lower scores in affluent nations to early-age smartphone use, consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), and a breakdown in interpersonal relationships leading to increased loneliness.


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Within the UK, 35% of participants indicate experiencing distress or encountering difficulties with their mental wellbeing, with a notable impact on young adults and economically disadvantaged households. The study highlights a decrease in mental wellbeing among individuals aged 18-24 since 2020, reflecting a trying period characterized by economic downturns, persistent cost-of-living challenges, and instability in the property market.

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Factors contributing to the UK’s mental wellbeing crisis include political instability, exacerbated by changing Prime Ministers and scandals like Partygate. The study also highlights the adverse impact of consuming ultra-processed foods, which constitute 60-70% of diets in the UK and the US. Individuals who regularly consume such foods report significantly poorer mental wellbeing, emphasizing the link between diet and mental health.

The UK is the world’s second-most miserable country, as per research

While wellbeing for over 60-65s has remained relatively steady, young people, particularly those aged 18-24, exhibit the least improvement since 2020. Notably, the report underlines the stark contrast between wealthier and less affluent nations, with less wealthy countries in Africa and Latin America scoring highest for wellbeing.

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The overall findings highlight the urgent need to comprehend the elements impacting collective mental wellness in the aftermath of the pandemic. Researchers advocate for a deeper comprehension to synchronise objectives with the genuine welfare of individuals. Using the Mental Health Quotient (MHQ), the study assessed cognitive and emotional capabilities, producing a comprehensive mental wellbeing assessment. This publication serves as a crucial plea to tackle the complex factors influencing mental health globally.

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