Mental Health Awareness week 2018. 14-20 May.
Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, this year the main subject of the day is Stress.
In everyday life, this word is used loosely and often incorrectly to describe an emotion that may or may not be linked to a physiological change in the body.
An Acute stress reaction can occur in individuals without any other apparent psychiatric disorder, in response to exceptional physical and/or psychological stress. The symptoms can show considerable variation.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Arises as a delayed and/or protracted response to a stressful event or situation of an exceptionally threatening nature.
There are a number definitions related to stress, but the bottom line is that the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic and pituitary-adrenal axis respond to the trigger. The well-known reaction referred to as the fight or flight response is activated through a number of different pathways, with the overwhelming cascade of symptoms.
Is stress a mental health problem?
Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between true stress and the onset of mental health issues. Although stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, it is closely linked to mental health in two important ways.
An example of this is, if you struggle under pressure to the point of becoming overwhelmed by stress, then these feelings could lead to anxiety or depression.
Raising awareness of stress being a key factor in some mental health conditions, it follows that stress management is key to successful treatment.
There are many avenues of help available. It is important to talk to loved ones and friends. Visit your GP or Practice nurse who can signpost you to the appropriate professional who is specifically trained to deal with stress and mental health conditions. In addition, there are a number of extremely useful websites:
Check out the story of ‘Alice’ written by K L Loveley and published by Austin Macaulay. This family drama raises awareness of how stress can lead to a breakdown in mental health.