A recent study has pinpointed the regions in the UK most in need of a break this Stress Awareness Month, with Preston emerging as the area suffering the most.

The research, conducted by CBD Oil King, analysed 233 stress and anxiety-related search terms using Google Keyword Planner.

These search averages were calculated per 100,000 residents across various UK towns and cities, revealing which regions are under the most pressure.

In the top ten most stressed areas, five are in the Northwest, including major cultural hubs Manchester and Liverpool, while only three are from the South. Following Preston, Blackburn was identified as the area with the second highest monthly searches.

Preston topped the list with 2,006 monthly searches per 100,000 residents related to stress. Despite a recent decrease in unemployment rates to 4 percent, this figure remains above the national average. Additionally, 28 percent of Preston’s residents report high anxiety levels, and the city has consistently ranked in the top 20 percent of the most deprived areas in the country since 2000.

Blackburn followed closely with 1,979 searches per 100,000 residents. The town has a higher-than-average adult depression rate of 16.2 percent and an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

Liverpool ranked third with 1,968 searches per 100,000 residents. The city faces significant hardship, with nearly a third of children living in poverty and being the third most deprived region in England.

Burnley came in fourth, averaging 1,864 searches monthly. The area is among the top 20 most deprived in England, underscoring the need for support.

East Kilbride, Scotland’s fifth-largest locality by population, ranked fifth with 1,752 searches per 100,000 people. Over a quarter of adults in the region suffer from long-term health conditions.

The Most Stressed UK Cities Ranked

Rank Location Searches per 100,000
1 Preston 2,006
2 Blackburn 1,979
3 Liverpool 1,968
4 Burnley 1,864
5 East Kilbride 1,752
6 Bristol 1,668
7 Manchester 1,665
8 Newcastle 1,576
9 Reading 1,535
10 Portsmouth 1,493

Bristol, the highest-ranking Southern region, saw 1,668 searches per 100,000 residents. The 2021 census revealed that 32 percent of households in Bristol included someone with a long-term health condition affecting daily activities.

Manchester, one of the UK’s most populated cities, had 1,665 searches per 100,000 residents. The city, despite its cultural attractions, is the sixth most deprived according to the 2019 deprivation index.

Newcastle followed with 1,576 searches per 100,000. The city has a 5.2 percent unemployment rate and ranks 53rd in deprivation in England.

Reading saw 1,535 searches per 100,000 residents. A 2017 study found that 1 in 10 residents often felt lonely, possibly contributing to stress.

Portsmouth rounded out the list with 1,493 searches per 100,000. It is the most densely populated area outside London, with crime rates 48 percent higher than the national average.

Dr. Mansoor Siddique, Director of CBD Oil King, commented on the findings: “Stress can stem from various factors including work, unemployment, disability, mental health issues, crime rates, and poverty. It is alarming that 74 percent of Brits reported overwhelming stress last year, with a third experiencing suicidal thoughts. It’s crucial to provide support systems and promote open discussions about mental health to alleviate this burden.”

This study underscores the pressing need for targeted mental health support and interventions in the most affected regions.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.