Monday, 14 May 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 & What is Stress? | MHAW18

Mental Health Awareness Week UK is annually hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and occurs for a week within May. This year it will be running from the 14th-20th May 2018 with the theme of Stress; particularly within the workplace. Throughout this week, I will be uploading once a day where I talk about not only stress, but all things mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation, "research shows that two thirds of us experience a Mental Health problem in our lifetime, and stress is a key factor in this".
"Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work".
Stress is everywhere, it is something that can't be avoided, no matter how hard we try. In today's society, life is full of stress, we are told that we need to do well, we need to get the best grades within school, we need to go to university and we need to have a job that we love and that can support us throughout our lives, no matter how much pressure and stress we have to tackle on the way. Stress is mostly made up of two parts; situations or events that put pressure on us which includes times where we have a lot to do, or think about or situations where we don't have much control over what happens and our reaction to being placed under pressure which includes feelings and emotions that we may experience when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to deal with.

There isn't a medical definition of stress and therefore, many health professionals have different opinions on whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them, in my personal opinion, it can be both, depending on the individual. Stress isn't a psychiatric diagnosis but according to MIND, can be closely linked to your mental health in two different ways; stress can cause mental health problems and make existing problems worse whereas on the other hand, mental health problems can cause stress.

Despite it not being classed as a mental health problem, Stress can affect our everyday lives and just like mental health problems, it is important to seek help before it gets worse and possibly develop into a mental health condition. The main signs of stress include;

  • Emotional changes - Stress can cause individuals to experience many different emotions, especially negative emotions including anxiety, fear, sadness, anger and frustration. 
  • Behavioural changes - When someone is stressed, it can lead to them behaving differently to usual, commonly individuals can become withdrawn, indecisive, they may struggle to sleep or feel tearful and irritable. Stress can also lead to changes in an individuals sexual habits as well as affecting the way they interact with the people close to them.
  • Bodily changes - When feeling stressed, some individuals can get physical symptoms such as headaches and nausea as well as breathing more quickly, experiencing palpitations or suffer from various aches and pains. However, if the thing causing you to be stressed only occurs for a short period of time, most people will return back to normal with no lasting adverse effects.
Everyone is affected by stress at some or multiple points throughout their lives, but some people are more affected by stress than others and some individuals are able to cope with stress better than others. 

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Sources & Useful Links:
Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 - Mental Health Foundation 
Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 - MIND 
Work Related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics - Health & Safety Executive
Work Related Stress Statistics in Great Britain PDF - Health & Safety Executive
Stress - MIND
Stress - Mental Health Foundation
Stress, Depression & Anxiety - NHS Moodzone
How to deal with Stress - NHS Moodzone

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