April is Stress Awareness Month
Due to COVID, the last two years have been focused on helping people to cope with the stresses of the pandemic, and signposting people where to get help and support if they are struggling with their mental health.
This year the theme is Community. The Stress Management Society say they have chosen this theme because lack of support can cause loneliness and isolation, which in turn lowers people’s wellbeing, impacts on mental health and can lead to mental illness.
Social isolation is an important risk factor for both deteriorating mental health and suicide. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that the community support experienced by many people during this challenging time continues. Although restrictions have mainly been lifted, people need support now more than ever as they adjust to a new way of living.
I recently attended an ASSIST suicide prevention training course and they talked about the dangers of coming out of the pandemic. They’re expecting suicide rates to start spiking as we go back to normal ways of living. So, if you know a friend or family member that has been struggling through the pandemic, now is the time to increase that support and not decrease it. Keep checking in with them.
The pandemic has had a hugely detrimental effect on the nation’s mental health and sense of community. Disrupted social lives, the cancellation of celebrations and gatherings, travel restrictions and working from home have kept us in one place for long periods of time.
However, one of the positives to emerge from this unprecedented situation has been the community spirit and support shown by so many to so many. Just look at the support that is being offered to those from the Ukraine at the moment. Communities’ social clubs and charities are all joining forces to support those poor individuals that are having to flee their country, their homes, and their way of life in order to stay alive. Communities are so important!
What can you do for Stress Awareness Month?
Talk about stress and its effects – let’s work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with friends, family and colleagues.
Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you why not share it. It might benefit someone you care about, and in the meantime, it might help you take your focus off your own challenges.
Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime, so treat others going through it with compassion and empathy.
Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self–care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to exercise and eat well, even when you feel too stressed.
The most crucial thing you can do when you are stressed or anxious, is to make sure you are continuing to look after yourself. Make time to relax when you need to, and learn to say no to requests that are too much for you.
Here are some free resources if you want to learn more and get involved: Click here to access them.
If you want to share your coping mechanisms for stress, or your own particular experience of mental health and what has helped you – Or if you’d like to contribute to this blog, you can reply directly or e-mail me on email@example.com
It would be great to hear from you.
I have been a mental health nurse for 28 years. I work in the Health and Wellbeing Team, and my main role is to facilitate mental health and related subjects. I also facilitate epilepsy and emergency rescue medication training. I provide support and consultations to managers and teams supporting individuals with complex needs and mental health difficulties. This blog is written to encourage people to start talking about mental health, in order to raise awareness and reduce stigma.