April is Stress Awareness Month and the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria is reminding people how they can recognise the signs of stress and highlighting support that is available.
Stress can easily and very quickly become too hard to manage and cause harm to your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also lead to multiple health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
As part of the annual Stress Awareness Month campaign, Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board – which organises health services for the region – has shared some of the signs and symptoms of stress.
- Feeling irritable, angry or tearful
- Feeling worried, anxious, hopeless or scared
- Struggling to make decisions, have racing thoughts or feeling overwhelmed
- Stomach problems, stress headaches and other odd pains including muscle pain
- Skin reactions, like stress rashes and hives
- Feeling dizzy, sick or faint
- High blood pressure and chest pains – but these symptoms should stop when your stress goes
If you have any symptoms that you are worried about, or feel you have more severe stress, see a GP.
Stress Awareness Month is also an opportunity to share tips and ideas, and promote services that can help.
NHS Talking Therapies (formerly Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) is a self-referral service for anxiety and depression. There are a range of NHS talking therapies across Lancashire and South Cumbria and teams generally provide screening assessments and psychological interventions to people experiencing common mental health problems.
Dr Jim Hacking, clinical lead for mental health at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Managing stress is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can make a huge difference to how you feel.
“What works for one person may not be the answer for another, but there are lots of things you can try to keep stress in check.
“Making small changes to your daily routine or even just being more aware of the signs of stress can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing, and it is also important to remind people that help is at hand for those struggling with stress.
“NHS Talking Therapies are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression. You can access talking therapies for free on the NHS and you can refer yourself directly so you don’t have to see your GP to be referred. Some of the help available locally includes groups, stress-control courses and one-to-one therapy to help you understand what you’re going through and build your confidence.”
The NHS website has 10 tips to reduce stress. These include: being active; connecting with people; having some ‘me’ time; avoiding unhealthy habits; and more.
Visit nhs.uk/every-mind-matters to access other wellbeing help and tools, including a ‘Mind Plan quiz’, self-care for young people, how to help someone else, and links to urgent mental health support. Mind and the Mental Health Foundation websites are also available for information and resources relating to your mental wellbeing.