Irish people are far more worried about money than they were a year ago, according to the Samaritans’ annual worries survey 2012.
An exclusive YouGov poll for Samaritans, published today, shows that 70% of respondents put money and debt in their top five worries, a rise of 6% from 2011.
Concerns over money were higher amongst women (73%) than men (67%) and were especially acute amongst people between the ages of 35 and 44, of whom 77% were most worried about money.
Money worries were noticeably higher amongst people from lower socio-economic groups, which at 75% was 9% higher than the 66% recorded for ABC1 people.
Semi-skilled or unskilled manual workers were the most worried of all about finances at 81%, with professionals or higher technical workers such as doctors and accountants the least worried about money at 62%.
Years of worry over money and debt seems to have taken a toll on the nation’s concerns about problems with families, friends and relationships. Worries over family have risen 9% on 2011 to 46%. There has also been a rise in expressed concerns over physical health, up 6% to 38%.
Issues surrounding national politics and the current government were most important to 30% of respondents, with international affairs on 19%.
A new question, asking how people deal with their worries found that 43% of those who had worries in 2012, would talk about them. However, while more than half of women surveyed would talk (54%), less than a third of men (3%) would do the same.
Having a social drink would be the choice of 29% - more popular with men (32%) than women (26%). Recreational drugs were the coping method of 5%, including 13% of 18-24 year olds.
Reliance on religious and spiritual beliefs was at 18%, with men at 15% and women on 20%. In the North, the figure was 4% higher at 22%, while the UK average was just 9%.
Pio Fenton, Chairperson of Samaritans, said: “It’s clear that a large majority of Irish people are very worried about money. However, less than a third of men are choosing to talk about their problems, which is a real concern.
"We know from our work that middle aged men, from disadvantaged groups, are at higher risk of suicide.
“Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to family and friends about your problems, but it can help to see your situation in a new light and find a way forward. We’d like to remind people struggling to cope, that Samaritans will continue to be there for anybody who needs somebody to listen to them.”
Samaritans recently launched We’re in your corner, a campaign aimed at men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s from the lower socio-economic groups who are at higher risk of suicide.