PEOPLE’S satisfaction with their lives is below the UK average in almost every area of Gwent – with only Monmouthshire ranking slightly above.

Mental Health UK said people's declining mental health is due to the coronavirus pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, and called on the UK Government to prioritise people's mental health.

Office for National Statistics figures show how people in the five areas of Gwent answered the question "how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?" in March.

They were asked to rank their feelings on a scale where one is "not at all" and 10 is "completely".

In Newport, Caerphilly, and Blaenau Gwent the average was 7.3. In Newport this was in line with the previous year, but was down 0.1 points in Caerphilly, and 0.2 points in Blaenau Gwent. People in Torfaen were marginally happier, ranking an average of 7.4 – roughly in line with the previous year.

People in Monmouthshire were the only ones to rank higher than the UK average of 7.5, with an average of 7.6, unchanged from the previous year.

Brian Dow, chief executive of Mental Health UK, said: "When you consider the pressures on people's mental health over recent years, it's no wonder that the nation's mental health is in decline.

"This data tracks what we've seen as a charity, with wellbeing taking a hard knock from the pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis forcing many people to choose between whether they should heat their home or put food in the fridge.

"While there are small steps we can all take to try to improve our wellbeing and support others, this data indicates just how impactful external events can be, and should serve as yet another warning call to the Government that it must better prioritise mental health."

The figures also show an increase in anxiety levels last year, with the average person in the UK rating their anxiety the day before at 3.2 out of 10.

In Gwent only Torfaen saw a drop in anxiety, with the average falling from 3.5 in 2022 to 3.1 this year. Caerphilly saw the biggest rise – from 2.8 last year to 3.5 this year – while levels were highest in Blaenau Gwent, where the average was 3.6, up from 3.5 in March 2022.

In both Newport and Monmouthshire the average was 3.2, up from 3.1 the previous year.

Olly Parker, head of external affairs at YoungMinds, said: "It’s deeply worrying, but sadly unsurprising, that life satisfaction has fallen at the same time anxiety levels are increasing."