Happiest and loneliest areas to live in Merseyside according to new data

Happiest and loneliest areas to live in Merseyside according to new data

Liverpool Echo Sports·2021-06-14 22:00

The happiest and loneliest places to live in Merseyside have been revealed in new figures. According to the Office for National Statistics figures Wirral was the least happy place in Merseyside - between January and March 2021 - with people rating their happiness at 6.5 out of 10. That figure has gone down since the last lockdown, as back in April to September, when asked to give a rating between 0 for 'not at all happy' and 10 for 'completely happy, the average was 6.9. That rating - during the period when restrictions from the first lockdown had been easing - was also down from pre-pandemic levels, with people in Wirral giving an average rating of 7.4 in 2019/20. How would you rate your happiness levels, and how does that compare to people in your area?Every part of Merseyside saw a drop in happiness levels compared to both last summer and before the pandemic, according to the Office for National Statistics figures.Many parts of the area had seen happiness ratings improve as restrictions eased last year but a winter of rising cases, tiers, firebreaks, and, finally, another lockdown appears to have sent them tumbling.Knowsley and St. Helens saw the highest levels of happiness locally, at 6.7, but even that was down from an average of 7.4 out of 10 recorded before the pandemic and 7.3 in April to September last year. The Opinion and Lifestyle Survey also measured the levels of loneliness affecting people during the most recent lockdown. While people in Knowsley and St. Helens reported the highest levels of happiness between January and March, they also reported the lowest levels of loneliness in the area, with 22% and 25% of people saying they often, always or sometimes felt lonely in each area. People in Sefton were the most likely to report feeling lonely, with nearly a third of respondents, or 32%, saying they felt this way often, always or sometimes. Earlier figures, covering the autumn and first part of lockdown from October to February, show levels of loneliness have gone down from 39%. People in England and Wales rated their happiness at an average of 7.2 out of 10 before the pandemic. The ONS has been monitoring levels throughout the pandemic, and that score dropped to its lowest point at 6.4 during the first week of lockdown at the end of March last year.Generally, levels of happiness have mirrored levels of restrictions - the average score jumped to 7.4 in late May ahead of planned school reopenings and other easing.In July, 2020, on average, people rated their happiness 7.1 out of 10.The rate increased in August to an average of 7.2 out of 10, before starting to decrease through autumn, before hitting another low at 6.4 during late January.Research, published last month by the medical journal The Lancet, found a similar pattern for peoples mental health.Rates of poor mental health rose immediately after the start of lockdown in April and stayed at that level. Mental health started to improve only from July onwards.Sign up for a new-look Echo newsletterIt's never been more important to stay in touch with the news, so subscribe now to the Liverpool Echo newsletter. Twice a day, seven days a week, we'll deliver the biggest stories straight to your inbox. We'll also send special breaking news emails too for the latest stories that matter. You won't miss a thing.How do I sign up?It's free, easy and takes no time at all.First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.Once you're there, put your email address where it says at the top, then click on the Echo Daily News button. There are other newsletters available too if you want them as well.When you've made your choice, press the Save Changes button.From its surveys, the ONS has identified five main factors that affect happiness.Among these were peoples ability to save money over the next 12 months, whether they felt they had enough information to protect themselves from the pandemic, their level of comfort in leaving home, and age group.Some of these factors may influence the gap in happiness levels between rural and urban areas.Adults living in London reported the lowest level of happiness, at 6.5 out of 10 in early 2021. That compared to 6.6 nationally and 6.8 in rural areas.Hambleton, a predominantly rural area in North Yorkshire, saw the highest level of happiness, at 7.4 out of 10, followed by Ashford (Kent), Daventry (Northamptonshire) and Newark and Sherwood (Nottinghamshire) at 7.3 out of 10. All are predominantly rural or have significant rural areas within their boundaries.The strongest correlation with happiness, found by the ONS, was how lonely someone feels.On average, levels of loneliness in Great Britain have increased since spring 2020 - rising to higher levels during the second lockdown than the first.In April and May 2020, around 5% of people said that they felt lonely often or always.Those levels rose through the summer and into the autumn, and hit a peak of around 8% in January this year.Overall, figures show young and single people were more likely to be lonely, with difficulties with relationships caused by the pandemic and not having anyone to talk to also contributing to experiences of loneliness.Gemma Thickett, Advice and Information Service Manager at Rethink Mental Illness: The pandemic has disrupted our lives and had a significant impact on our wellbeing, particularly for those already living with mental illness.The grief, anxiety and uncertainty that many people have experienced has been extensive. At the same time, its been harder to access and enjoy the things that can have a positive influence on our mental health, such as spending time with friends and family, exercise, or a simple change of scenery.There have been positives in recent months, with the arrival of the vaccine and the easing of restrictions, but many people may still feel a sense of groundhog day or feel dispirited that were still far from back to normal.Its to be expected that we might experience these feelings considering what were living through, and its really important that people prioritise their mental health in response. Make time for things that help you feel better, plan things to look forward to and try to stick to a good routine with sleep, exercise and nutrition."If unhelpful feelings persist, its really important that you seek support as soon as possible. Friends, family, support groups and support helplines can be a great place to get some emotional support. If youre worried about your mental health, speak with your GP or self-refer to your local NHS talking therapies service (IAPT).If youre struggling financially and have money worries, you can also access free debt advice and seek support through services such as Mental Health & Money Advice.Read MoreRelated ArticlesRead MoreRelated Articles

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