For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme is Stress, and how we are coping with it.
Mental Health Awareness Week starts on Monday the 14th of May and will last to Sunday 20th of May.
According to mentalhealth.org, a mental health charity, young people have higher stress related to the pressure to succeed, 60% of 18-24-year-olds and 41% of 25-34-year-olds cited this.
Qali Id, a Senior Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator at World Vision, Somalia, said: “When I worked as a freelance writer and photographer, stress wasn’t much of a factor in my everyday life as I had found a healthy work-life balance. However, in my new role, I am moving to Somalia, I have never been there, and the security situation is so dynamic, not knowing what to expect is causing me anxiety”.
Qali who has a younger sister with Downs syndrome continued: “Growing up I always felt the need to be twice as good and to never put extra pressure on my parents in any regard. A lot of the time that meant that I was dealing with life on my own”.
She added: “Writing has been a therapeutic way for me to express myself and process my thoughts. Most of my stressors stem from bottling things up, so through writing I release all my worries and anxieties onto the page so to speak. I also learned the value of allowing myself to lean on the people that I love. It is important to have a good support system around you”.
Exercise is a good way to reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing, along with a good diet and support system.
Eve Rose, a Yoga teacher said: “regular yoga practice has helped me to feel more balanced and manage my stress levels more effectively. The practice of the postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) have been vital in helping me to stay grounded in times of instability and change. I have practiced and taught in London for 3 years and I have felt a marked improvement in my general outlook on life and state of mind. The postures have helped me to grow stronger and to be more flexible and grounded and with a stronger physical body it is then possible to be more connected to the breath”.
She continued: “By breathing more consciously I can focus my attention on my breath and be more present and aware of things that are causing me stress. So yoga is a most wonderful practice that teaches us to be attentive to how we feel physically, emotionally and spiritually at any given moment and with this knowledge we have the power to make changes and notice what causes us stress and then be able to make adjustments in our lives that hopefully lead to us feeling more balanced and better equipped to cope with the inevitable ups and downs that come our way. Yoga helps us to slow down and feel what is going on in our bodies. If we don’t know how we feel it is harder to make positive life changes”.
Everyone at some point in their lives experiences or succumb to stress and it is important that people research what helps is available to them.
Phillipa Brotherwood a Registered Nurse said: “I talk to my husband about my job, I also enjoy the drive home as it gives me time to reflect on my day and what is stressing me out. My job is super stressful to the point that I had to seek medical advice and support. I have seen a councillor, been through IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies”.
She continued: IAPT is a service run by the NHS and mental health professionals. They listen to you and afterwards signpost you to relevant services that they think might help. The GP can also refer people to go to this service and it has helped me a lot”.
There are many mental health charities and the conversation around mental health is no longer taboo, the country is having the conversation and having it out loud.