Mental health and relationships 'more critical for wellbeing than income'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new study has highlighted the crucial role that mental health and harmonious relationships play in affecting a person's overall sense of wellbeing.

The London School of Economics research surveyed around 200,000 people about the different factors affecting their overall happiness, evaluating the positive or negative impact on a scale of one to ten.

“Mental health and quality of relationships are considered to be more important markers of happiness than income, according to a new report.“

Having a partner increased happiness by 0.6 points, while losing a partner by separation or death saw the same impact downwards. By contrast, doubling a person's pay resulted in an increase of less than 0.2.

Depression and anxiety, meanwhile, resulted in happiness levels plunging by 0.7 on the scale, with unemployment having a similar impact.

The study concluded that governments worldwide may need to shift their focus from the generation of wealth to the promotion of wellbeing.

Report co-author Professor Richard Layard said: "In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health. But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else."

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