Nearly half (46 percent) of British adults say they often keep their worries and concerns to themselves - with almost one in three fearing judgement - according to new data published today.
The research also found that whilst people may be reluctant to open up, an overwhelming majority (82 percent) believe that having a meaningful conversation with someone about their worries and concerns is beneficial to their mental health.
The YouGov survey was conducted to mark the start of a partnership between mental health charity Mind and the biscuit brand McVitie's, which aims to encourage the nation to communicate more through its new ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign. The partnership will also see McVitie’s contribute to the opening of eight new Time to Change hubs and approximately 400 new champions across England, to help support Mind in its mission to raise awareness and promote understanding around mental health.
According to the research, 18-24-year olds are the most likely to keep their worries and concerns to themselves (53 percent), yet almost half (46 percent) of this group would like to feel more connected to the people they live with.
Over half (54 percent) of British adults think families are less connected emotionally than they were 20 years ago, and 40 percent of adults say they would like to feel more connected with people they live with. One in five (19 percent) adults who live with someone spend 10 minutes or less during a typical weekday having a meaningful conversation at home.
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Those who would like to feel more connected said they miss quality interaction with the people they live with (26 percent) or feel lonely in general (20 percent) and would like to have more meaningful conversations with the people they live with (38 percent), as well as feel closer to them (39 percent).
Top barriers to people opening up about their worries and concerns are:
• Worrying about being judged (30 percent)
• Worrying about showing weakness (22 percent)
• Feeling too embarrassed (22 percent)
Beyond personal concerns and barriers, lifestyle factors are also eating away at opportunities to have a meaningful conversation at home:
• British adults who live with someone also say they are too tired (38 percent)
• Have a lack of time due to busy lifestyles (24 percent)
• Or are too busy checking their social media (18 percent)
Positively, when asked how they felt after a meaningful conversation, 69 percent of British adults said they felt the following: happier and in a better mood, relieved, more prepared to tackle the issues they were facing, or closer to the person they had the conversation with.
When asked what would make them more likely to talk to someone they live with about their worries or concerns, over a quarter (27 percent) of people said taking time to sit down for a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit together more often and spending less time on phones (23 percent).
"This new research highlights that many of us are afraid to open up to our friends and family about our problems for fear of being judged – despite the fact that getting things off our chest can make us feel better," Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said. "That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with McVitie’s to encourage the nation to get talking. You don’t have to be an expert to be there for your loved ones, simply making time for a chat over a cup of tea and a biscuit can go a long way."