UK Freelance Mental Health Statistics

It’s easy to believe you’re struggling alone with mental health challenges when you’re freelancing or self-employed. Despite progress in reducing any stigma associated with mental wellbeing, and more openness from UK freelancers about their own challenges, there’s still a long way to go. So, we’ve compiled general and UK freelance mental health statistics to show how many people are battling the same issues you might face.

By realising how common mental health challenges are across the self-employed and freelancing industries, hopefully it will encourage you to find help and support. Acknowledging and understanding your mental wellbeing can not only help your freelance career, but also your life and relationships outside of work. 

UK Mental Health Statistics


1 in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England

 

1 in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. (Mind)

1 in six people report a common mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression in any given week in England

 

1 in six people report a common mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression in any given week in England. (Mind)

 

In 2015, mental health issues were the third biggest cause of sick leave, at 12.7% of all sick days taken in the UK

 

In 2015, mental health issues were the third biggest cause of sick leave, at 12.7% of all sick days taken in the UK. (MHF)

7.8% of the British population meeting the diagnosis criteria for mixed anxiety and depression

 

7.8% of the British population meeting the diagnosis criteria for mixed anxiety and depression. (MHF)

 

 

Those working in the creative sector are 3 times more likely to experience mental health issues. (Inspire)

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to deterioration in mental health and wellbeing across the UK population (Gov.uk), which has been reflected in the freelance and self-employed sectors. (IPSE)

 

 

UK Freelance Mental Health Statistics


There are around 4.4 million solo self-employed in the UK in 2020, contributing as much as £162 billion to the UK economy

There are around 4.4 million solo self-employed in the UK in 2020, contributing as much as £162 billion to the UK economy. (IPSE)

80% of freelancers felt moving to self-employment had at least a somewhat positive impact on their mental health, with 48% saying it was very positive

80% of freelancers felt moving to self-employment had at least a somewhat positive impact on their mental health, with 48% saying it was very positive. (IPSE)

 

 

Aspetcs of self-employment that have a negative impact on mental health

 

For 2017, 3.6% of male UK freelancers and 6.7% of female self-employed workers reported mental health problems

 

For 2017, 3.6% of male UK freelancers and 6.7% of female self-employed workers reported mental health problems. (ONS)

The most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the creative sector are Anxiety and Depression

 

The most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the creative sector are Anxiety and Depression. (Inspire)

 Almost one in ten freelancers didn’t take any days off in the previous 12 months, and 14% took less than five days

 

Almost one in ten freelancers didn’t take any days off in the previous 12 months, and 14% took less than five days. 24% felt unable to take time off when feeling sick or unwell. (IPSE)

 

Coronavirus and UK Freelance Mental Health



1 in 5 freelancers and self-employed professionals worried they would have to close their business during the coronavirus pandemic. (IPSE


32% reported high stress levels during the pandemic. (IPSE)


29% reported low job satisfaction during the pandemic. (IPSE)


Coronavirus saw freelancers rating their mental health as good or excellent drop from 68% to 39%. (IPSE)


The number of freelancers experiencing poor or very poor mental health rose from 6% to 26%. (IPSE)

 

Further Resources and Support:

 

 


 

Looking for more advice? We can help.

We have a dedicated advice page to help you navigate directly to specific sections including brexit, coronavirus, business insurances, and ways of working.

View all advice pages

Coronavirus

Coronavirus is a real concern for all self-employed, from a lack of support from government to the real impact this has on everyday life.

IR35

Off-payroll working rules, otherwise known as IR35 or the intermediaries legislation, is a damaging taxation law from HMRC that IPSE strongly opposes.

Winning Work

Tips and advice to help you grow your business no matter what industry or sector you work in.

Ways of working

There are many ways to work as a self-employed person, from operating as a sole trader, limited company director or as part of an umbrella organisation.