A UK-wide study of 3,000 adults has revealed a detailed picture of how we deal with, perceive and hope to combat panic attacks at work. The study revealed how gender, age and location can impact how a panic attack sufferer is perceived and treated.
It also found that 33% of employees in Liverpool received no support at all from their employers, 22% greater than the national average.
Key findings of the research, conducted by a team coordinated by panic specialist Dr. Michael Sinclair, director of bcalm:
Panic attacks and work
- More than a quarter (27%) of panic attack sufferers say they get no support from their employer, 1 in 10 say their employer could do more to support them.
- Just 8% say their employers are very supportive
- Panic attack sufferers in the north get more support from their employer, although employers in Liverpool are rated as least supportive.
- Belfast employers are most supportive of panic attack sufferers
- 4 in 10 women say a ‘safe space’ at work would help them cope with their condition
- Aberdeen – a city with a high concentration of offshore oil workers – is the worst city in UK for panic inducing commutes
- Air quality could be key to reducing workplace panic attacks
Worst cities for commuting to work
|City||% who’ve had panic attack on way to work|
Regional differences in panic attack support.
People working in the north generally feel more supported in their condition than those working in the south.
Cities with most supportive employers
|Most supportive employers||% who said employer very supportive|
Cities with least supportive employers
|Least supportive employers||% who said they get no support from their employer|
Gender and age impact
- Men more likely to suffer weekly panic attacks
- Men more likely to tell strangers about their condition than women
- Women less likely to feel taken seriously after disclosing condition
- Women more likely to be told panic attacks aren’t serious
- Panic attack sufferers aged over 45 least likely to feel well supported by their employer and are far less likely to feel supported at work than 18-24 year olds.
Panic attacks at work – support and help
Women and men generally feel equally supported by their employers when it comes to their panic disorder. Although more than a quarter of all feel that their employer offers no support.
|Does your employer offer any support for panic attack sufferers?|
|Yes, they are very supportive||10.41%||10.20%|
|Yes, but they could do more to be supportive||8.79%||8.73%|
|No, they offer no support||27.98%||26.18%|
|I don’t know||52.82%||54.90%|
|Does your employer offer any support for panic attack sufferers?|
|Yes, they are very supportive||15.17%||12.48%||10.15%||8.35%||7.84%|
|Yes, but they could do more to be supportive||8.97%||11.03%||9.21%||6%||8.11%|
|No, they offer no support||22.76%||21.52%||27.26%||31.48%||31.35%|
|I don’t know||53.10%||54.97%||53.38%||54.18%||52.70%|
Women are more likely than men overall to have ideas of how their employers can help them. They are six percentage points more likely than men to believe a safe space at work could help.
|Which of the following do you think your employer could do better to support panic attack sufferers?|
|Provide a ‘safe space’ environment for respite||37.63%||32.25%|
|Adjust layout of workspace||13.18%||12.35%|
|Improve ambient conditions (airflow, ventilation, fresh air)||28.56%||24.22%|
|Reduce loud noises||11.75%||10.78%|
|None of the above / N/A||41.74%||48.53%|
Panic disorder disclosure
Despite suffering panic attacks less frequently than women, men are more likely to openly disclose their condition outside of family and friends. Men are also more likely to hide their condition, while women are more likely overall to disclose their condition, but are more selective about to whom and under what circumstances.
|Would you say you are comfortable telling people about your panic attacks? (1,552 panic attack sufferers )|
|Yes, I’m comfortable, I tell everyone||8.90%||12.36%|
|Yes, I’m comfortable but I only tell close friends and family||35.61%||31.38%|
|No , I’m not comfortable, but I disclose when appropriate or relevant||33.22%||31.70%|
|No, I’m not comfortable, and I don’t tell anyone||22.26%||24.56%|
Overall, woman are more likely to suffer from panic attacks, with 59% reporting that they’ve suffered panic attacks compared to 44% of men. But men are marginally more likely to suffer from panic attacks on a weekly basis.
Almost a quarter of women (24%) suffer infrequent panic attacks (fewer than once per year) compared to 16% of men.
|How often do you usually suffer from panic attacks? (3,000 respondents)|
|At least once a week||3.61%||3.73%|
|At least once a month||10.05%||7.88%|
|At least once a year||9.53%||5.94%|
|I suffer them infrequently||23.89%||16.24%|
|I’ve had one panic attack||12.23%||9.81%|
|I’ve never suffered a panic attack||40.70%||56.39%|
Perceptions of panic disorder
Women are more likely than men to experience mistrust over their condition, with 14% suspecting people don’t believe they suffer from panic attacks, compared to 11% of men. They are also more likely to be told panic disorder is not a serious condition.
|In relation to panic attacks, which of the following have you ever experienced?|
|People have said they don’t believe I have panic attacks||5.15%||5.04%|
|I’ve suspected that people don’t believe I have panic attacks||14.17%||11.06%|
|People have said they don’t think panic attacks is a serious condition||17.39%||12.79%|
|I’ve suspected people of faking or exaggerating panic attacks||15.26%||13.89%|
|None of the above||61.24%||65.72%|
Dr Michael Sinclair, director of bcalm, believes focusing on the environment can help panic attack sufferers overcome their condition.
“Almost 3 in 10 women and 1 in 4 men said that improving airflow at their place of work would help with their panic attacks. This is consistent with two separate, double blind medical studies in two different countries, done by two different investigators which have demonstrated that carbon dioxide pollution filters do help reduce panic attacks.
“So many offices have windows that don’t open. In such cases, you’ll need a high power, expensive ventilation system to compensate and many businesses can’t afford this. Employers should encourage their people to get out and about. Even a short break outside can help. Fresh air is so important for physical and mental health.”
Can YOU Help?… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the West Wales Chronicle than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The West Wales Chronicle’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Chronicle – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.