A Samaritans’ survey found 70% of people put money and debt in their top five worries this year, up 6 points on 2011. Worries over family have increased by 9 points on 2011 to 46%. There has also been an increase in concerns about physical health — up 6 points to 38%.
A new question asking how people deal with their worries found that 43% would talk about them. However, while more than half of women (54%) surveyed would talk, fewer than one third of men (31%) would do the same.
Money worries were higher among women (73%) than men (67%). Financial concerns were especially acute among people aged between 35 and 44, of whom 77% were most worried about money.
More than three quarters of people from lower-income groups worried about money, a figure that was 6 points higher than the 66% recorded for the top three income groups.
Semi-skilled or unskilled manual workers were the most worried of all about finances at 81%, with professionals, or higher technical workers, the least worried at 62%.
Having a social drink would be the choice of 29% of those with financial worries and was more popular with men (32%) than women (26%). Recreational drugs were the coping method for 5%, including 13% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
More people in Northern Ireland (22%) relied on spiritual beliefs to cope with money than those in the Republic (18%). In the UK, the average was 9%.
Samaritans chairperson Pio Fenton said a real concern was that fewer than one third of men were choosing to talk about their problems.
* Contact Samaritans by phone: 1850 609 090. Website: www.samaritans.ie. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org