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Let’s talk about stress

by Sandra Issar

April is Stress Awareness Month, and whilst the last year has been challenging for everyone, whatever your situation or however you are feeling there is support available to help you manage.

According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Yet there are simple things we can all do to help deal with stress and look after our mental health:

Some useful tips:

Talk about your feelings – when you’re upset, worried or feeling down it can help to talk to family or friends. If you know someone who may be struggling, encourage them to talk.

Keep in touch with others –Keep in touch with friends and family via phone and video calls, or groups of up to 6 people outdoors are now permitted.

Accept what you can’t control  – If you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling with feelings of uncertainty, try to focus your attention on the positive, those simple things that happen day to day which can help make a difference to how we feel. Try as well to limit how often you check news updates or social media if these make you feel worse.

Make time – to look after yourself especially if you’re looking after others.  Take some time to go for a walk or you could read a book or do something else indoors that you enjoy.

Drink less alcohol – if you’re feeling low, alcohol can make you feel worse as it is a depressant. By limiting the amount you drink will also help you sleep better and may help improve your mood.

Online advice and support

If you’re feeling anxious, worried or low Kind to Your Mind has lots of advice and useful resources to help look after your mental health. It is home to ALMA – the dedicated health and wellbeing website with a range of free online therapy programmes to help you manage stress, sleep better, improve resilience and cope with your emotions.

You can also get a free NHS-approved Mind Plan from The Better Health – Every Mind Matters website. Simply answer five quick questions you will get a free plan with practical tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety, boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel more in control.

The website also includes practical tips and support on how you can deal with uncertainty and how to cope with money and job worries.

Further support

If you’d rather chat to someone you can contact one of the agencies below. You can also call one of these agencies if you have concerns about someone you know.

If you are in mental health crisis and you need urgent help, please call the NHS Mental Health crisis line on 0800 051 1508.  NHS staff will then support you to get the help you need. – Available for people of all ages, including children and young people, available 24/7. Call Freephone 0800 051 1508.

  • Samaritans– a national registered charity with local branches, available around the clock. Freephone: 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.
  • Young Minds Parents Helpline offers free, confidential online and telephone support, including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25. Lines are open Lines are open 9.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday 0808 802 5544 (free for mobiles and landlines). YoungMinds website also has a range of support and guidance for parents who maybe worried about their child.
  • Kooth provides online and face to face counselling, information, advice and support for young people in secondary schools. Find out more on Kooth’s website.
  • Knowsley CAMHS Services is a referral service for children and young people in Knowsley whose emotional, behavioural or mental health issues are causing them problems in their school, family or social life. If you are worried about your child make an appointment to speak to your GP.
  • The Silver Line is a helpline which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year for anyone aged 55 and over. It is free to call on 0800 4 70 80 90 from a mobile or landline.
  • CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably– a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 or visit the CALM website.
  • AMPARO– support after suicide – offering advice and support around suicide prevention as well as support to adults, children and young people affecting by suicide. Find out more by calling 0330 088 9255, emailing referrals@listening-ear.co.uk, visit the website at listening-ear.co.uk/amparo or follow on Twitter @AMPARO_LEM
  • SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide)– meeting the needs and overcoming the isolation experienced by people over the age of 18 who have been bereaved by suicide. Find out more by calling 0300 111 5065, emailing support@hotmail.com, visit the website at https://uksobs.org/or follow on Twitter @SOBSCharity.

Visit the Every Mind Matters website for your personalised Mind Plan and Kind to Your Mind for advice and resources to help look after your mental health.