Samaritans’ survey discovers what worries Scots

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People in Scotland are more worried about money and health issues than a year ago, according to Samaritans’ annual worries survey 2012.

An exclusive YouGov poll for Samaritans shows that 55 per cent of Scots put money and debt in their top five, compared with 52 per cent a year ago. The UK average was 49 per cent.

Meanwhile, those most worried about physical health have risen significantly from 23 per cent in 2011 to 44 per cent now. This is the second highest total in the UK after Wales, which had 48 per cent and was the only part of the country to place health worries ahead of financial concerns.

Worries about politics have fallen significantly in Scotland as they have all across the UK. Only 18 per cent are most concerned about domestic politics and the current government compared with 31 per cent in 2011. There has been a similar fall in concerns about international affairs, down from 29 per cent last year to just 15 per cent today.

The poll of more than 2,000 people was conducted on Wednesday, November 28, the day before the Leveson report was published and the vote on Palestine was taken at the United Nations – regarded by the media as two of the biggest stories of the year.

However, years of increased worry over money and health seems not to have impacted on concerns over families, friends and relationships. Those most concerned about this area have remained unchanged at 35 per cent since last year. Scotland is the only part of the UK where concerns over families have not gone up, apart from the East Midlands where the figure fell 5 per cent to 39 per cent and the South East, where the figure fell from 35 per cent to 33 per cent.

A new question, asking how people deal with their worries, found that 37 per cent of those who had worried in 2012 would choose to talk about their problems, and 25 per cent preferred just to “grin and bear it”.

A further 26 per cent would have a social drink, while 14 per cent would rely on prescription drugs. Finally five per cent per cent would take recreational drugs, the highest figure in the UK except for Northern Ireland, which is one per cent higher.

Andrew Sim, Samaritans’ Executive Director for Scotland, said: “Growing worries about money and health in Scotland are clearly of concern. As the nation’s listening ear, we’d like to remind people struggling to cope, that Samaritans will continue to be there for anybody who needs someone to listen to them.”