Stress: are we coping? – Mental Health Awareness Week

Stress is when we feel excessive pressure or demand is placed on us.  It can manifest itself in many ways; physical, mental, emotional or behavioural.

Whilst stress isn’t a medical condition, it can lead to anxiety and depression, so addressing it is vital.  Prolonged periods of stress can cause mental health problems as well as physical ill health issues; the release of particular hormones associated with the ‘fight or flight’ response- adrenaline and noradrenaline raise blood pressure and increase heart rate.

Ways to reduce stress

There are ways that we can help ourselves to manage and reduce the stress in our lives by identifying triggers and reviewing our lifestyle and work-life balance. The Mental Health Foundation have more self-help suggestions on their website.

Five ways to mental wellbeing

Mind suggest five ways to mental wellbeing which include:

  • Connect – There is strong evidence that indicated that feeling close to and valued by others is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
  • Be active – Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
  • Take notice – Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
  • Learn – Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life
  • Give – Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Mini Mental Health MOT

We would like to offer UoP staff the opportunity of a Mini Mental Health M.O.T. with one of our Occupational Health Nurses

Have you been feeling low in mood or panicky about things in the last few weeks or months?

Are you struggling to keep going through the day without feeling tearful or worrying about things that may happen in the future? You may be finding it hard to carry on at work or even just get motivated to get up in the morning.

Mental health problems affect one in four people and symptoms can come on so gradually that you may not have noticed the signs.  If you recognise some of these symptoms and are concerned, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings:

  • Changes in your appetite
  • Thinking negative thoughts
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Not enjoying life as much as usual
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Perceiving things differently to others

To make a confidential 30 minute appointment with an Occupational Health Nurse, please ring extension 3187.  After seeing you, the Nurse will be able to advise whether it would be helpful to access some further form of therapy or see your GP if medication may be indicated or need to be reviewed.  They will also be able to discuss with you the poor lifestyle choices that can influence your mental health such as overeating and the positive lifestyle choices that we could all make more of.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your symptoms and need more urgent support please contact the University Employee Assistance Programme on 0800 1116 387 (free from a UK landline) to talk to a trained counsellor, The Samaritans Freephone 116 123 (UK) Mind – urgent assistance

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