Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health is still such a taboo subject, but we need to bring more awareness to it so that it becomes an easy conversation. Health isn’t just about what you’re eating. It’s also about what you are thinking too. In fact, two-thirds of us experience mental health problems over the course of our lives. These problems can affect anyone of any age, young or old. The old days of shaking yourself up or get over it are long gone.

Being aware of all Mental Health problems can help us all, whether we need help ourselves or understanding how we can help others. It is important we continue to talk about the topic, continuing to raise awareness of symptoms you might feel or be able to see in other people.

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on Stress which can affect anyone at any age! In the past year alone, 74% of the UK population have felt ‘overwhelmed or unable to cope’ according to the Mental Health Foundation.

Signs of stress in yourself and others are listed below. We also have a series of support services listed at the bottom of this blog who can advise and support you. (source MIND)

How you might feel

  • irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
  • over-burdened
  • anxious, nervous or afraid
  • like your thoughts are racing and you can’t switch off
  • unable to enjoy yourself
  • depressed
  • uninterested in life
  • like you’ve lost your sense of humour
  • a sense of dread
  • worried about your health
  • neglected or lonely.
Some people who experience severe stress can sometimes have suicidal feelings. (See MIND’s pages on how to cope with suicidal feelings for more information.)

How you might behave

  • finding it hard to make decisions
  • constantly worrying
  • avoiding situations that are troubling you
  • snapping at people
  • biting your nails
  • picking at your skin
  • unable to concentrate
  • eating too much or too little
  • smoking or drinking alcohol more than usual
  • restless, like you can’t sit still
  • shallow breathing or hyperventilating
  • you might have a panic attack
  • muscle tension
  • blurred eyesight or sore eyes
  • problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or having nightmares
  • sexual problems, such as losing interest in sex or being unable to enjoy sex being tearful or crying.

How you might be physically affected

  • tired all the time
  • grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • headaches
  • chest pains
  • high blood pressure
  • indigestion or heartburn
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • feeling sick, dizzy or fainting.

The important thing to is if you feel like you are affected by any of the above is to seek help. You will find a list of sources at the bottom of the page.

Address the causes..sometimes just addressing the problems can be a relief…but not to be ignored…it might take time but at least you are on the right track

Look for help..it might be closer than you think. Speak out to those around you and ask for support. Similarly, seek help from the sources at the bottom of this blog.

Accept things you cant change

Make time for yourself and look after your needs…you cant pour from an empty cup. Take time for yourself away from everyday life and listen to your body.

If you feel you are suffering from stress please seek help from GP or any local organisation such as those listed below. If you recognise the above in anyone around you, be supportive and seek professional advice.

MIND: 0300 1233393 www.mind.org.uk

Calm for Men: 0800 585858 www.thecalmzone.net

Samaritans: 116 123 www.samaritans.org

Bullying UK: 0808 800 2222 www.bullying.co.uk

Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide): 0800 068 4141 www.papyrus-uk.org

Age UK: 0800 169 6565 www.ageuk.org.uk

Young Minds (parents helpline): 0808 802 5544

Jen Feltham

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