NEWLY-released figures show people in Bradford are less satisfied with their lives these days. 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows people in Bradford answered the question 'how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?' with an average of 7.2 in the year to March - down from 7.5 the year before.

They were asked to rank their feelings on a scale where one is 'not at all' and 10 is 'completely'.

Across the UK, satisfaction levels have fallen slightly to 7.5 following a post-pandemic bump in 2021-22.

Experts say people's declining mental health is due to the coronavirus pandemic followed by the cost-of-living crisis.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The figures also show an increase in anxiety levels last year, with the average person in the UK rating their anxiety the day before at 3.2 out of 10.

In Bradford, anxiety levels rose marginally from 3.3 in March 2022 to 3.4 this year.

Bradford Council and the Government told the Telegraph & Argus they were committed to improving people's mental health.

What has Bradford Council said?

Sarah Muckle, director of public health at Bradford Council, said: "We know that financial stress has a negative impact on mental health, so the council, NHS and voluntary and community sector partners in Bradford have come together to support residents with the cost of living crisis. 

"Together we are running a number of initiatives and a targeted cost of living campaign to offer local people help and information about Government support; energy and bills; food resources; housing support; debt and gambling; savings; scams and safeguarding; and mental wellbeing.
“Since May 2022, more than 5,500 people have accessed our Wellbeing Hubs in Bradford and we're giving more debt advice and support with fuel and food poverty than ever before. 

"Social prescribers are playing a crucial role as part of the GP practice team in helping people get the support they need with housing and benefits, employment and debt. 

"We've also connected expectant and new parents with Hope 4 U, a self-referral service helping families understand the financial support they're entitled to - helping them access vital money and savings.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

"Mental health support teams have been rolled out in schools to help young people who may be struggling with mild to moderate mental health difficulties, as well as supporting their schools to adopt a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. 

"Visit Healthy Minds website to find mental health information, advice and support for people of all ages in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven."

'This is deeply worrying'

Brian Dow, chief executive of at the charity Mental Health UK, said "it's no wonder the nation's mental health is in decline" after the pressures of recent years. 

He added: "The ONS data tracks what we've seen as a charity, with wellbeing taking a hard knock from the pandemic and a cost of living crisis forcing many people to choose between whether they should heat their home or put food in the fridge.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: People are choosing between heating and eatingPeople are choosing between heating and eating (Image: Press Association)

"While there are small steps we can all take to try to improve our wellbeing and support others, this data indicates just how impactful external events can be, and should serve as yet another warning call to the Government that it must better prioritise mental health."

Olly Parker, head of external affairs at YoungMinds, added: "It’s deeply worrying, but sadly unsurprising, that life satisfaction has fallen at the same time anxiety levels are increasing."

He said he wanted to see the Government prioritise young people's mental health.

A Government spokesperson said: "We are committed to helping people live longer and happier lives in good physical and mental health.

"That's why we are investing an extra £2.3 billion every year to expand and transform mental health services in England, so two million more people can be treated. This includes expanding access to NHS talking Therapies for adults with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

"1.7 million people have also been helped out of absolute poverty since 2010 and we have provided a £94 billion support package worth around £3,300 per household to help those most in need, as well as raising benefits by 10.1 per cent."