Month of Stress but Decade of Anxiety

April is stress awareness month. Stress is becoming more and more part of our everyday—we cannot even think of daily life without stress anymore—and as such is also either cause or accompanying many mental health and other psychological issues people bring into psychotherapy and counselling. However, a closer look at the internet search statistics, reveals astonishing figures related to stress, anxiety and depression, which are the top three mental health-related searches in the UK.

(You can find more about search statistics in 2016 here: Mental Health Statistics for UK in 2016)

It turns out that April can well be a month of stress—well, a month dedicated to stress awareness at least. However, the decade belongs to anxiety and depression. Looking at search statistics, depression has always been the number one, followed by stress, if we look at average search results in the last decade both worldwide, as well as in the UK.

However, while depression and stress have remained quite stable on the worldwide level, anxiety searches have increased considerably and steadily over time.

In the chart below, you can see how overall searches for anxiety increased 134% in the last decade, which is 9% per year on average. Compared to 9% for depression (i.e. 1% per year on average) and 32% for stress (i.e. 3% per year on average) that is quite a dramatic increase.

Stress, Anxiety, Depression
Stress, Anxiety, Depression – Worldwide / Source: Google Trends

However, what seems to be even more astonishing is how considerably UK outperforms these increases.

The chart below shows this clearly. The rise of searches for stress amounts to 51% in the last decade, which is 4% per year, with the rise of depression even higher at 67% (i.e. 5% per year on average). However, what is astonishing is the rise of anxiety search statistics, which comes up to 327% in the last ten years, which is 16% per year on average.

Stress, Anxiety, Depression
Stress, Anxiety, Depression – UK / Source: Google Trends