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International Stress Awareness Week: Identifying and Managing Stress

This week was International Stress Awareness Week, an annual event campaigning against stigma associated with stress and mental health issues. Following the establishment of Stress Awareness Day in 1998 by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to help provide information on stress, and strategies on how to address and develop greater understanding of stress by offering individuals and organisations access to proven coping strategies and sources of help.

Millions of people in the UK experience stress frequently due to various reasons, and it is necessary to understand the symptoms and coping mechanisms for stress. Rethink which is a charity that improves the lives of people severely affected by mental illness defines stress as ‘the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure”. Stress is the body’s response to pressure; therefore, it is important for individuals to be aware of the symptoms of stress and how manage it. People show many different signs of stress varying from mental, physical and behavioural. Stress is a huge public health challenge because of its potential to impacts mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, while also leading to physical health issues like digestive problems, heart disease and a weakened immune system.

Managing stress may be difficult but there are ways to handle it in order to maintain a healthy mind and body, such as:

  1. Talk about stress: By sharing your experience, you can reduce the stigma that’s associated with stress and allow others to openly speak about moments of stress with family and friends. You can also share ways of managing stress and find tactics that others use which can be useful to you.
  2. Look after yourself: Your body tells you when you are stressed, so perhaps setting time aside for self-care will help you relax more. Looking after yourself Is essential to prevent stress and reduce pressures. Healthy eating, exercise and good sleep are all helpful methods.
  3. Take time out: If you are able to identify the causes of stress, then a good suggestion to combat it is by removing yourself from the environment and doing what you enjoy. Stress is inevitable however, being aware of an unhealthy environment is a great first step to reducing stress.

At ATM, we have subsidised therapy services to support people who have been heavily impacted by stress, depression, anxiety and other poor mental health problems.  We know how harsh dealing with stress is, and we want to ensure that our service users are given the opportunity to receive support from BME therapists. If you would like to be connected with a therapist, please email yasmin.moalin@theatm.org