Mental Health Organisation: Boiling Point Report 2008
For Mental Health Action Week 2008, the Mental Health Organisation launched a report ‘Boiling Point’ about problem anger, how it affects individuals, families and communities, and what we can do to minimise the harm it causes.
Key findings from the report are:
• GPs report that they have few options for helping patients who come to them with problem anger.
• There are some good examples of NHS-funded anger management courses and others being run by voluntary organisations, as well as private sector providers.
• Where NHS services do not exist GPs can refer people to voluntary sector providers and others, but often aren’t confident to do so.
• There are approximately 50 published research studies that have tested some kind of intervention for anger problems with adults and another 40 relating to children or adolescents, and researchers have concluded that successful treatments exist for adults, adolescents and children.
• Almost a third of people polled (32%) say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
• More than one in ten (12%) say that they have trouble controlling their own anger.
• More than one in four people (28%) say that they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
• One in five of people (20%) say that they have ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of how they behaved when they were angry.
• 64% either strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.
• Fewer than one in seven (13%) of those people who say they have trouble controlling their anger have sought help for their anger problems.
• 58% of people wouldn’t know where to seek help if they needed help with an anger problem.
• 84% strongly agree or agree that people should be encouraged to seek help if they have problems with anger.
• Those who have sought help were most likely to do so from a health professional (such as a counsellor, therapist, GP or nurse), rather than from friends and family, social workers, employers or voluntary organisations.
• Generational differences are striking. Older people are less likely to report having a close friend or family member with an anger problem or to be worried about how angry they sometimes feel or that they have trouble dealing with their own anger, than younger people.
• There are striking regional differences in responses to our anger polling – especially between Scotland and other parts of the UK.
The Sunday Times Magazine – July,16 2006
• 45% of us regularly lose our temper at work
• 64% of Britons working in an office have had office rage.
• 38% of men are unhappy at work.
• 27% of nurses have been attacked at work.
• Up to 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress.
• 33% of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbours.
• 1 in 20 of us has had a fight with the person living next door.
• UK airlines reported 1,486 significant or serious acts of air rage in a year,
a 59% increase over the previous year.
• The UK has the second-worst road rage in the world, after South Africa.
• More than 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road rage incidents;
25% have committed an act of road rage themselves.
• 71% of internet users admit to having suffered net rage.
• 50% of us have reacted to computer problems by hitting our PC, hurling parts of it
around, screaming or abusing our colleagues.
• 27% of managers in the construction industry have sought medical help for stress, anxiety or depression.
• More than one third of the UK population is losing sleep from anxiety.
• 1 in 7 adults have sought medical treatment for stress.
• Depression and anxiety have overtaken physical ailments as the chief cause of long-term sickness.
Teacher Support Network Line
These stats are taken from February 2006 and show that 4% of callers to
Teacher Support Line have expressed having difficulties with anger (this
is 4% of the people for whom we gathered data on emotional state).
The main causes of anger amongst this group were:
Performance and pay 10%
Legal issues 7% (71% of these cases were about allegations)
Working relationships 18% ( 67% of these were about problematic relationships with managers)
Career difficulties 8%
Personal problems 8%
Between February and November 2006, Teacher Support Network helped 6331
teachers in need of coaching and counselling on a number of issues. The
main causes of stress for these teachers were as follows:
Harassment (4%) and Difficult working relationships (7%).
The majority of times the difficult relationships were with managers – 36%
Legal issues at work 4% (35% of these were about allegations)
Problems with pupils 2%
Performance and pay 3%
Some sobering anger related statistics:
• 65% of office workers have experienced office rage.
• 45% of staff regularly lose their temper at work.
• 53% of people have been the victims of bullying at work.
• 65% of people express anger over the phone, 26% in writing and 9% face to face.
• In the European Union, Britain is the top road rage country
• 80.4% of drivers claim to have involved in road rage incidents
• 1 in 4 drivers admit to committing an act of road rage
• There was a 400% increase in air rage between 1997 and 2000
• Britons spend 407 hours per person per year, shopping. Over half have stormed out of a shop due to bad service and frustration.
Situations / activities people found stressful:
• Rush Hour Travel – 45%
• Work – 34%
• Managing work/home balance – 31%
• Children’s future – 31%
• Financial planning – 29%
• Paying household bills – 26%
• Shopping – 26%
• New technology – 20%
• Domestic relationships – 19%
• Housework – 16%
• Holiday trips – 14%
[Intl Stress Management Assoc/Royal & SunAlliance Nov 00] • 1 in 4 people are so stressed about money they think about it ‘all the time”.
[Halifax May 01] • 1 in 3 Londoners agree “I often feel I cant cope because of I feel under too
much pressure” [Eve Std Aug 01]
Work Stress – Average working day consists of:
• 171 messages
• 46 phone calls
• 15 internal memos
• 19 items of external post
• 22 emails
[Gallup/Instit for the Future Jun 01]
Stress- relief medicine sales are increasing dramatically:
• 68% said driving to work in the rush-hour increased anxieties.
• 72% said colleagues drank too much coffee which led to hyperactivity and
increased blood pressure.
• 85% said office machinery was not working, esp. computer server goes down.
Effect on Performance:
• 90% of companies performance and productivity is undermined by stress in the
workplace. [Industrial Society] • About 270,000 people in UK take time off every day because of stress. [BUPA] • 6.7 m working days are lost per year [HSE Nov 00] • Up to 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress [Health & Safety Exec] • Sickness absence from work related stress costs UK industry £10 bn a year [CBI] • 5m people (1 in 5) suffer from high levels of work-related stress [HSE Nov 00] • Stress now bigger than common cold as main reason for time off. [Teleg Oct 00] • 50% of UK workforce come home ‘totally exhausted’, compared with 36% in US
and 17% in Holland [Irish times]
• Between 1985 and 1995 UK job satisfaction fell from 70% to 50% – the biggest
drop and the lowest level of any EU country ” [Institute of Research Survey]
• Britain has the longest work hours in Europe – an average of 43.6 a week.
The next nearest is Greece with 40.8 and the lowest was Belgium with 38.4
• Britain has highest proportion of working women in Europe [Irish Times 01] • 20% of Brits will not take their full holiday entitlement in 2001 [Express Apr 01] • 57% of UK workers sometimes work on a Saturday [Henley Centre 2000]
Increase in Stress:
• 70% of UK adults have experienced stress at work (60% in 1999)
• 49% had an increase in stress levels over the last year (24% in 1999)
• 31% of workers found balancing work with home stressful
[Intl Stress Management Assoc / Royal & SunAlliance Nov 00] • 84% feel more stressed at work than 5 years ago.
• 53% considered it to be a major concern.
• 60% were dissatisfied by volume of work, level of pay and lack of praise.
• 27% experienced bullying or harassment in last 2 yrs – 68% of that by a manager.
• 15% (1 in 7) had been off work due to a stress-related illness in the last year.
• 90% said employers weren’t doing enough to prevent stress.
• 7% only said employer had taken steps to tackle or prevent stress at work.
[Communic Workers Union May 2001] • 70% of UK adults had experienced stress at work compared with 60% in the same
survey in 1999. [Nat Stress Awareness Day]
Effect of Stress:
66% “feel work takes up too much time and emotional energy”
[Publicis NOP Omnibus April 2002] Over _s have felt some effects of stress over the past year, including:
– feeling ‘‘keyed up’’ or on edge (experienced by 74%);
– low energy or tiredness (73%);
– difficulty relaxing or feeling very irritable (61%);
– difficulty sleeping (56%);
– headaches or neck aches (56%);
– worrying a lot (55%).
[Communic Workers Union May 2001]
Work and Travel:
• 15% are late to work 1-3 times a week due to travel delays.
• 33% find working at home much more productive than the office
• 33% want to work from home 1 to 3 days per week
• 26% want to work from home every day
• 45% of office workers are attracted to working from home because they would
spend less money on transport [MORI April 2001]
• 85% annoyed with people who do not turn off mobile phones during meetings
• 75% complain people don’t load the photocopier/fax/printer when empty, or jam
it and leave it for the next person to fix ·
• 60% are irritated by people who spend their day gossiping or spreading rumours
• 50% dislike colleagues talking loudly in the office, often about their private lives ·
• 50% hate people taking stationery from their desk and not returning it ·
• 40% dislike petty selfishness [making coffee without offering colleagues one, etc] • 30% complain about colleagues’ untidiness in the kitchen and rancid milk
• 25% hate people who loiter by their desk when they are using the telephone
• 20% frustrated by colleagues’ increasing lack of personal interaction in work
• 20% dislike colleagues who look depressed all the time.
[The Times Sep 1999] • 64% of office workers have experienced office rage [Monster.co.uk 2000] • 45% staff regularly lose their temper at work [risk managers Smithson Mason Gp]
Violence at Work:
• 1 in 5 workers are subjected to violence at work [TUC Jun 01] • 1.2m incidence of work related violence in ‘99/00.
• 650,000 workers had at least 1 violent incident in past yr [Brit Crime Survey ‘99] • 53% of employees had been victims of bullying at work
• 78% had witnessed such behaviour. [ILO 1998] • 7% of UK workforce (1.3m) were physically attacked by a member of the public.
• 50% had been attacked between 1 and 4 times in the previous year.
• A further 10% had been attacked at least 5 times in the same period.
[HSE Violence at Work 1995] • 200% rise in attacks on NHS workers in Scotland over 4 yrs [UNISON Jul 00]
• 71% of internet users get so frustrated searching the net they suffer net rage
• 36% of users spend over 2 hrs a wk searching the Internet for accurate information
• 12 minutes on ave. before a searcher gets frustrated
• 46% said uncovering the wrong information during an online search is frustrating
• 86% feels that searching could be more efficient
[WebTop Internet Research]
Too Much Information:
• 2 in 3 managers say tension with work colleagues and loss of job satisfaction
come from the stress associated with information overload
• 1 in 3 managers suffer ill-health from stress of information overload
• 62% say personal relationships suffer as a result
• 44% believe that the cost of collecting information exceeds its value to business.
• 48% think Internet will be a prime cause of info overload over the next 2 years.
[Reuters/ Dr David Lewis 00]
• 50% of Britons have reacted to problems with their computer by either abusing
colleagues, hitting the computer, screaming, shouting or hurling parts of the PC.
• Over _ experience computer problems on a weekly or daily basis.
• 30% have witnessed physical attacks on computers.
[Symantec/NOP 2000] • Half of workers are frustrated by the time taken to solve IT problems
• 40% say computer jargon makes the frustration worse
• 25% of under 25s admitted to kicking their Pcs in Pc rage
• 1 in 6 under 25s feel like taking IT aggression out on someone/thing else
• 62% say their colleagues regularly swear at their PCs out of frustration
• 1 in 5 people reacted to computer problems with PC Rage
• 20% more swore at the computer
• 54% blamed it on their software
• 44% experienced some sort of emotional reaction to their computer problems
• Of the PC rage 20%,
• 71% walked away in frustration
• 62% swore or screamed at their computer
• 22% hit the computer but caused no damage
• 7% hit the computer and damaged it
[Compaq 2000] • 53% of network managers say PC problems trigger violence from users.
• 19% result in a broken keyboard
• 17 % a shattered monitor
• 17 % mouse
• 4 % kicked the hard drive
• 1 in 4 office workers admit attacking their computer in some form – often the
result of ‘Inbox Tyranny’. One ripped his computer out and dumped it in a skip.
[Novatech – Jun 01] • Office workers will have to spend 4 hrs a day opening/replying to emails by 2002.
• This year the number of emails is up 50% [Ferraris Research 2000] • Technology is above domestic relationships as a cause of stress (20% to 19%)
[International Stress Management Assoc] • Marketing email will increase 40fold by 2006 [Jupiter analysis Jun 01]
• 65% of people are more likely to express anger over the phone compared to 26%
in writing and 9% face to face.
• 57% admitted to losing their temper over the phone during the year [BT] • There were 80m phone calls every day in 1992 and 100m in 1997 = 2 per person
per day. 61% felt anger over the phone was increasing. [BT] • 52% use the phone to carry out financial transactions (25m people)
• 53% of consumers felt their blood pressure rose the moment they heard the words
“You are being held in a queue.” [NOP] • People are 5 times more likely to lose tempers when dealing with businesses than
15 yrs ago [Ind Soc, 2000]
• 2 in 5 office workers would seriously consider moving jobs, and over _ would
take a cut in salary, in order to downshift away from office work
• 52% of office workers want to work from home for the freedom it gives them
• 42% because it will cut down on commuting time.
[MORI Apr 2001]• Andrew James, an expert in downshifting, predicts 10% of the working population
will be doing it from home by 2004.
• The average nights sleep in the UK is now only 7 hours – compared to nearly 9
hrs a century ago.
• Not getting enough sleep can leave you ‘borderline retarded’. An hour short of
the necessary amount can temporarily knock a point off your IQ. 15 points can be
lost in a week if you miss 2 hours a night.
• 10% of us have fallen asleep while driving – causing _ of all fatal accidents.
[Observer Sept 00]
Aggressive personalities are more susceptible to heart attacks and clogged arteries.
People who stay in the background were a third less likely to be affected by heart
disease. [Edinburgh Uni Mar 01] Those with a short fuse are more likely to smoke and drink and are 2.7 times more
likely to have a heart attack than someone of a calmer disposition. Stress hormones
could cause an increased risk of heart disease by constricting blood vessels and
causing blood clots which could block the heart. [Uni of North Carolina] Men who bottle up emotions until they lose their tempers in violent outbursts are
twice as likely to suffer a stroke than men who have a calmer disposition. Young
women who express their anger and aggression frequently have higher cholesterol
levels than more placid women. [Michigan Uni]
• 1 in 10 of lollipop ladies are a victim of abuse or violence [UNISON]
• Britain is the top road rage country out of 16 European countries
• British drivers are the first to resort to making rude gestures to vent their anger.
• Britain had 80.4% of drivers claiming to have been involved in road rage, in
Holland 78.1%; Greece 76.6%; France 70% and Germany 69.8%. [Gallup] • 90% of drivers have experienced road rage.
• 60% admitted to losing their temper behind the wheel.
• 62% said aggressive tailgating was most common form
• 59% headlight flashing
• 48% obscene gestures
• 21% deliberate obstruction
• 16% verbal abuse
• 1% physical assault
[AA 1995] • 1 in 4 adults have committed an act of road rage.
• Men are 3 times more likely to commit an aggressive act than women.
• 1 in 5 acts involved intimadatory driving, 61% verbal abuse, 50% aggressive hand gestures
• 30% of aggression is perpetuated by people in the 25-34 age group.
• 13 out of 1000 people were physically attacked and 24 had their vehicles attacked.
A follow up in 1998 found 84% believe the problem is getting worse.
• 50% of drivers have been victims of road rage [RAC 2000] • 10mph is ave. traffic speed in London – 2 mph less than 1945. [Teleg Oct ‘00)
• More than 1,000 people in the US die a year in road rage incidents.
US academic, James Strickland, found if provoked motorists wd respond by:
• 40% driving more agressively
• 22% make angry expressions
• 15% mutter under breath
• 14% hit something in the car
• 5% obscene gestures
• 3% bump the car causing the anger
• Only 1 in 140 said theyd do nothing
400% increase of air rage incidents from 97 to 00. [Civil Aviation Authority]
Britons spend 18.6 billion hours a year – 407 hours per person – shopping.
A fifth of this time (73 hrs each – 3bn hours), is spent queuing.
Over half have walked out of a shop, so frustrated with queuing and bad service.
1 in 5 people admit to aggressive behaviour when shopping.
For 16 to 24 year olds this rises to 1 in 3. (10% of them have been physically hurt
during the rush at sales time).
50% of shoppers become angry at being unable to park.
7% admit shopping has become so stressful it triggers arguments with their partners.
[Atwood SB retail consultants] 56% of consumers have complained about poor service or faulty goods in the past
year – up from 39% in 1997. [Henley Centre Nov 00] • In our study, 65% said more likely to complain now, than 3 years ago
• 75% under 35 years
• workers 69%
• 70% ‘depressed’
– National Complaints Culture survey
1 in 2 Londoners experiences pavement rage on a daily basis [Eve Std Aug 01] Westminster Council is considering installing a pedestrian fast lane to get people
moving on Oxford St. In this shoppers’ express lane, mobile phones, stopping to light
up, slowing down to eat or drink, or push chairs and dogs would be banned. Coloured
paving would mark the lane and traffic police would monitor the rules with
pedestrian speed cams. Instant tickets will be issued to those doing under 3mph.
1/3 people have not met or never speak to their neighbours. Those that do speak for
less than _ hr a week. We are likely to speak to other people for less than 3 hrs a day
by 2005. [Cambs Uni survey March 2000] 60% of council estates and 40% of wealthy suburbs think community spirit is low.
Source: Publicis NOP Omnibus, April 2002
36% of women seriously consider plastic surgery cause they’re unhappy with the way
they look. 90% of women said their bodies made them feel down and they think about it
everyday. [Aug 2001 Top Santé/Telegraph survey] 50% of school girls say they are on a diet.
By 2010 there will be a 33% increase in lone-parent households in the UK.
Women remaining childless at 45 will rise to 22%, compared with 16% in 1997.
There will be a 55% increase in one-person households between 1991 and 2011.
4.7% of adults are classed as dependent on alcohol and 2.2% dependent on drugs. 1 in
28 men and 1 in 12 women are now on antidepressants.
[Salvation Army / Henley Centre 1999 Paradox of Propensity Report]
1 in 3 marriages ends in divorce.
1 in 4 kids are likely to experience their parents’ divorce before the age of 16
Divorce has increased fourfold since 1950.
141,135 divorces granted in 2000 (12.7 people per 1,000 married population)
142,457 kids under 16 in families where parents divorced 2000 (1/4 under 5).
90% of working women say they feel under stress.
75% think their kids suffer emotionally if both parents work full time.
87% say stress causes them to shout at their kids.
73% believe that both parents working leads to more marriage breakdowns.
43% of working mums would like to be full time mothers instead.
60% still do most of the household chores
90% say kids are still their responsibility.
33% of families have the woman as the main breadwinner.
44% of women say their partners feel threatened by their success.
[BUPA/Top Santé survey June 2001] 1 in 10 of parents have wanted to abandon their toddlers because of stress.
1 in 5 mothers considered going back to their parents because of sleepless nights and
kids crying. [Nat Childbirth Trust Feb 2001] 50% of mums with kids under a year old now work .
56% of mums of under-6s now work compared with 43% 10 years ago [OECD]
30% of parents said they do not have time to manage their day-to-day finances,
37% had forgotten a family anniversary/ birthday because of time pressures.
49% of people with children said they were too busy to take them to the cinema.
[National Opinion Survey]
Over 3m kids and youngsters grow up in step-families [BT Forum Report] Kids of mums working betwn age of 1 to 5 are 40% less likely to get A levels.
9% are less likely to hold down a job. [Rowntree Trust Mar 2001] 61% of working families have parents at work during e. mornings, evenings, nights
34% have a parent who works weekends.
This is expected to double by 2007. [Daycare Trust Sept 2000] Kids leaving school at 18 sit over 75 external tests during time at school.
This excludes internal tests such as mocks. Those leaving at 16 take over 60. The majority
of kids have serious symptoms of stress and were at risk of becoming ‘dysfunctional’
[Professional Assoc of Teachers Aug 2000]
25% of heads drink too much/are alcoholic from job pressures.
50% said health and family life suffered as result of stress. [NAHT Jul 01] 50% of teachers reported high stress levels at work (Teacherline Oct 2000)
Teachers missed 2.7m school days last year from illness – a 6.4% rise
60% took sick leave last year – each missing 10 days on average [DfEE].
75% of adults felt teachers should be held in higher public respect.
90% believe teaching is a highly skilled job. [Gen Teaching Council Sept 00]
66% teachers believe standards of behaviour have declined
25% were threatened by a pupil in the past year (of this 41% actual assaults).
13% were threatened by parents [TES Jan 01] 140 members of NAHT report physical assaults or serious threats of violence over the
past year – double the previous year.
88 were of actual violence against the person.
70% of incidents involved parents.
NAHT won £350,000 in compensation and has 15 ongoing claims. [NAHT Jun 01] 86% of secondary school teachers in South West suffered verbal abuse and 14%
physical abuse. One teacher was told: “We made Mrs X have a nervous breakdown
and we’ll do the same to you.”
71% of special school teachers reported verbal attacks and 29% physical attacks.
NASUWT nationally reports a 3 fold increase of cases in the last 3 months of 2000
compared to the year before [NASUWT May 01] 3,083 incidents of threatening behaviour & verbal abuse against teachers in Scotland
in 99/00 – a rise of 50%. An average of 13 every day. 60% involved violence. 7%
were by parents. 6% of attacks reported to police. [Scottish Exec figs] 40% of teachers have has some physical abuse in career [Birm Eve Mail Jun 2000]
50% of adults & 87% of singles would take some revenge if ditched by lover/spouse
20% of men would react immediately by destroying something – the most popular
33% women would overspend on their ex’s credit card
50% of 16-24 yr olds admit they’d turn nasty if spurned.
Only a small minority of over -55s said they would seek revenge.
one in four people would seek revenge on their partner if they were treated really
badly. [Paramount Sept 2000]
1 in 4 families (26%) have frequent rows over control of the remote.
58% of women get angry if their partner dominates the controls. [Glas Herald 00]
60% of couples say choosing furnishings/decor is stressful and leads to arguments
1 in 7 claim it has over-stressed their relationship
40% of men and 60%, with couples under 35 being at greater risk than older ones.
[Homebase Oct 00]
Police Pursuit Deaths:
The Police Complaints Committee noted its ‘disappointment’ that this year (2000/01),
the number of accidents from pursuits increased. 25 people died and 16 were
seriously injured. In 1999–2000, 22 people died. In 1998–1999 there were 17
fatalities and nine the year before. Thus over 4 years there’s been an increase of
178% in the number of deaths from road traffic incidents associated with police
following a vehicle.
Of the 27 people who died after being hit by, or crashing in, a non-police vehicle:
– 9 were driving the vehicle followed by the police
– 9 were passengers in that vehicle
– 6 were pedestrians
– 3 were in another vehicle
The PCA has previously noted that poor training and response times (10 mins in city
and 20 mins in countryside) may have been factors in some of the deaths.
The Met are trialing black boxes giving more details of car crashes – they say they
hope to cut police car collisions by 20% and repair costs by 40%. They aim to have
boxes in all 2,900 of its cars over 3 yrs.
Police are involved in average of 3 crashes a day in London. The Met has 20,000
police drivers. [BBC 19 Oct 2000] BBC reported in Dec 2000 that tests found half of all Met patrol cars were defective
in some way.
How can diet affect my behaviour?
We all know that eating fresh, healthy food is crucial for overall health. But research also proves
that eating certain types of food can actually have a positive effect on our behaviour. Omega-3 DHA
is one such example. Omega-3 DHA is an essential fatty acid and the best source is oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna.
Omega-3 DHA is important in regulating the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune and central nervous systems, and is particularly effective for the healthy functioning and maintenance of the brain. Omega-3s have been shown to help control behavioural conditions such as depression, alcoholism and aggressive behaviour. A survey of 5000 New Zealand adults reported that fish consumption was significantly associated with higher self-reported mental health status (silvers and Scott 2002) while in a sample of 3,204 Finnish adults, a significant correlation was found between low fish consumption and depressive symptoms (Tanskanenm, Hibbebeln, Tuomilehtoet al 2001).
Not eating enough oily fish?
Up to 75% Britons don’t eat oily fish – but we could certainly all do with the benefits of Omega-3 DHA in our diets, particularly because of the positive effects it has on our brain health and behaviour.
A good option for people who don’t like fish is to get their intake of this vital nutrient by eating Omega-3 DHA enriched foods such as Intelligent Eating Healthy Eggs and Supajus orange juice – staple foods that are easily incorporated into the every day diet.
For information on Omega-3 DHA enriched foods you can buy and where you can buy them,