Well-being: a third of the world’s population has never felt worse

Well-being: a third of the world's population has never felt worse

The end of the Covid-19 pandemic, at least as a public health emergency, will not have boosted the morale of the troops. This is what a study carried out in fourteen countries, including Europe, the United States, and Japan, reveals. More than a third of the world’s population says their well-being is at an all-time low.

Nearly a billion people were affected by a mental disorder worldwide in 2019, just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data published by the World Health Organization (WHO). Social and economic inequalities, but also wars and the climate crisis, are among the obstacles to the well-being of the world’s population, as is the health crisis. The world authority estimated that in 2022 the increase in depression and anxiety would be more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic. But it seems that the discomfort is deeper, because the morale of individuals has not improved after the health crisis, as revealed by a new global study.

Produced by Edelman Data & Intelligence at the request of lululemon, this global report on well-being was conducted for this third edition in 14 countries, including Europe, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Central Europe, Japan, China, and Australia, with 1,000 people per market, for a total of 14,000 participants. The conclusions demonstrate the importance of taking into account the mental health of populations, and of acting on its causes and consequences to see change take shape. Something called for by the WHO just a year ago.

Well-being, a difficult priority to achieve

The authors of this report retained three criteria, physical well-being, mental well-being, and social well-being, supposed to reflect the balance which allows individuals to feel good. It firstly shows that well-being is today considered a priority for more than two thirds of the world’s population (67%), including 80% of Spaniards and 72% of Singaporeans and Thais and, conversely, only 44% of Japanese and 62% of South Koreans. In Europe, 68% of the population considers well-being to be a priority, but 40% believe that it is impossible to achieve. A figure which rises to 44% globally, and even to 48% for Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea. Another fact to take into account: only 12% of respondents say they have a state of well-being that suits them, both globally and in Europe.

Globally, more than one in three people say their well-being has never been so low (34%), compared to 29% for Europe, one of the lowest averages. In detail, this discomfort is perceptible in Thailand (48%), Singapore (40%), and South Korea (39%), but much less felt in Japan (20%), in mainland China (28%). %) and therefore… in Europe. The current state of the world, all issues combined, does not foreshadow any improvement in the near future, since 41% of the world’s population says they are discouraged when they think about it, compared to 50% of French people. Let us note, however, that certain populations say they are optimistic about the future: this is the case for China, at 67%, compared to only 42% for the world average.

The impact of climate change and the media

If we look at the obstacles encountered by respondents in feeling well, whether mentally, physically, or socially, we observe that climate change constitutes an obstacle to well-being. More than four in ten people surveyed worldwide (41%) say it worsens their feeling of anxiety, compared to 44% of French people – among the highest average in the world after Thailand (59%), Korea South (58%) and Hong Kong (44%). The environmental issue affects morale less among Germans (34%), Australians (34%), Canadians (35%), and New Zealanders (36%).

Global media coverage also plays a role in public morale. One in two respondents say that certain topics covered in the news impact their personal well-being, including inflation. More than half of the world’s population (56%) say they are worried about how they will meet their needs in the face of the ever-increasing cost of living, and 54% are even worried about managing their finances. for the current year. Note that the Spanish and the French are those who feel the most impacted by certain subjects covered by the media, at 57%, unlike the Chinese (44%), the Japanese (46%), the Canadians (48%). and Singaporeans (48%).

Injunctions, whatever they may be, also influence levels of well-being in the world. Internationally, nearly four in ten respondents (39%) consider that the pressure to conform to societal norms has a negative impact on their mental well-being, compared to 38% for Europe. In Thailand, more than half of the population suffers from this pressure. And it’s a vicious circle, because these injunctions also play a role in freeing people to speak out regarding mental health. Around the world, as in Europe, more than four in ten people (42% and 41% respectively) say they feel obliged to feign happiness when they are not happy. Something that can be explained by the fact that more than one in two respondents (55%) believe that “society takes a critical look at individuals who have poor mental well-being”.

The difficulty of preserving your mental health

The lack of time, the lack of financial means, and the taboos surrounding mental health, constitute all obstacles to allowing populations to take care of their well-being, or at least to get help. Those interviewed also deplore the lack of efforts, support or services dedicated to mental health. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) consider that institutions do not do enough to facilitate the well-being of society, compared to 79% of French people, and seven out of ten employees even believe, in the world and in the ‘Hexagon, that their employer is responsible for their well-being. Note that in Europe, almost two thirds of the people concerned (63%) indicate that their employer does not do enough for their well-being.

And this has consequences, both professionally and personally. The French would therefore miss an average of six days of work per year due to poor well-being, compared to five days for the world average. Internationally, employees also say they are less invested (48%) and less likely to accept responsibilities (37%) when their morale is at a standstill. And this would even have an impact on their role as parents, since more than four in ten respondents (44%) say they “are not the parent their children need when their well-being is low” globally, compared to 34% in Europe.

But people are still looking for solutions, individually, to feel better. Something that involves physical activity, setting certain limits in one’s professional and personal life, focusing on positive things, taking time for oneself, or more simply expressing one’s needs freely to others. his relatives.

This third edition of the report was produced in 14 countries (Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Spain, Central Europe, South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Australia, New Zealand) , to the general public. The online survey, conducted at the request of lululemon and managed by Edelman Data & Intelligence (DXI), was conducted in 14 different markets between May 1 and June 6, 2023, with a sample of 1,000 people per market, representative of the general population in terms of age, gender, income and where applicable race and ethnicity (in certain countries only), i.e. a total of 14,000 people.