30 May 2019
“Don’t struggle alone with stress, make sure you reach out for support” says local mental health trust as Game of Thrones star, Kit Harrington, seeks support.
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust are
encouraging those struggling with stress and their mental health to
self-refer to stress management courses available through local
Stress can has been linked and is a significant contributing
factor to both mental and physical ill health, not only is stress
linked to anxiety and depression but also physical health problems
such as heart disease, insomnia, immune deficiency and digestive
'Stress' is the way that our bodies and minds react when we are
struggling to cope with the demands of everyday life, important or
distressing events or big changes in our lives. The symptoms of
stress can include draining emotions, physical symptoms and changes
in how our bodies work.
Head of Psychological Therapies, Claire Williamson, said: "What
causes stress to one person will not necessarily cause stress to
another, similarly issues that are in and of themselves relatively
minor can grow to become stressful should they persist over long
periods. We can all be affected by stress, whether we work in a
shop, office or on stage and screen.
"Events or life changes, which are widely considered positive
like the birth of a new baby or a marriage, can also be sources of
great stress to those involved in their organisation and delivery,
in this way stress can also give rise to feelings of guilt and
confusion in not enjoying the process."
How can I cope with stress?
• Talk to friends and family about your
feelings - stress may alter the way you interact with
people, so it is important to discuss how you feel with those
around you. Talking about how you are feeling and the causes of
those feelings will give others the opportunity to make allowances
for you and provide you with emotional and practical support.
• Breaking down large tasks -
making lists of tasks or issues with actions to tackle them, making
timetables to address work or personal commitments, setting small
goals rather than large projects can really help reduce a sense of
being overwhelmed by a situation.
• Look after your physical
health - skipping meals, and eating foods with a high
sugar content can cause sugar and hormone levels to change
drastically affecting how you feel both mentally and
• Find practical help - depending on the
situation it is not always possible to deal with the practical
causes of stress yourself. It is important to look at the help
available to you, occupational health services at work or external
services such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.
• Set aside time - creating more structure in
your life and allocating regular time to pursuing activities that
bring you joy can also help alleviate stress and add to your sense
Claire added: "Stress can be tackled. Through psycho-educational
courses, similar to evening classes, facilitators can teach the
tools and techniques to help you build a more structured approach
to dealing with stress such as ways of changing the unhelpful
thought patterns that can sometimes emerge when under stress, or
addressing the bodily feelings of stress."
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services
provide a range of courses that address the causes of stress and
ill mental health helping the service user to build up the tools to
cope with stress factors within their day-to-day life. We are
reminding members of the public that they are able to refer
themselves to IAPT courses through directly contacting their
counties IAPT website, with no need to see a GP for a referral.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, seeking professional
help from a GP or IAPT service can support you in managing your
feelings and stressors, many people feel reluctant to seek help as
they feel that it is an admission of failure. It is important
recognise that when you are feeling stressed and beginning to
struggle with your mental health, accessing help early on means a
quicker recovery and can help prevent a decline in mental
For more information on IAPT services in your area, visit the
AWP website here: /services/specialist/primary-care-psychology-services/