The study, which was carried out by the charity Mental Health Foundation, has found that the principal reasons behind the results are money and job factors, and as many as 59 per cent of respondents admitted their life had become more stressful in the past five years.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Andrew McCulloch says the findings show many people are not managing their stress levels and treating it as a priority, and he insists that can have serious health repercussions.

He said: “The impact of current economic problems has put a lot of people under pressure due to the fear, or reality, of unemployment, insecure housing and high levels of debt and these results are not surprising.

“It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.”

He also emphasised stress can lead to more serious mental health issues and have the knock-on effect of “increasing the risk of physical illness such as heart disease”, and has urged the government to do more to help people.

He added: “We are also calling for the government to offer more practical help for people to manage their stress better.

“The introduction of the improving access to a psychological therapies programme was a great step forward, but more needs to be done as only a quarter of those who need treatment are getting it.”