Mental Health Training

Why we can’t afford to ignore Stress, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 22 Apr, 2018 in Mental Health |

Why we can’t afford to ignore Stress, By Jane McNeice
April is Stress Awareness Month!

Why we can’t ignore Stress

Integral to all of our mental health training courses at Mind Matters is a focus on Stress. We see businesses who in fact want to focus solely on Stress, whether that is Stress prevention or Stress Management through programs like our Strengthening Personal Resilience training courses, or whether that’s our Mental Health First Aid training programs where we also give considerable time to understanding stress and its impact. So why is it so important that Stress isn’t overlooked when we look at mental health?

Stress in it’s own right isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis (MIND, 2013), but Stress is the enemy, in fact Chris Bergland in Psychology Today, describes the stress hormone Cortisol as Public Enemy number one! The substantial evidence base around stress endorses that NO amount stress is good for us.

A good proportion of people believe that a moderate amount of stress isn’t a problem and may in fact be good for us. However, leading academics such as Derek Mowbray describe stress is a catastrophic event, the point when we become ill or go off work sick. It’s understandable in today’s world that the concept has become somewhat wooly. Stress is a well used term among both adults and young people. It’s more a case that certain things, which to an extent mobilise us e.g. pressure, are instead being described as stress. And perhaps there is also an issue of semantics here.

Most of us would agree that when we are in a state of stress, particularly chronic long term stress, we find our health deteriorates. We see immune system problems such as coughs, colds, and infections flaring up, and we drastically increase our risk of having an episode of poor mental health or developing mental health problems. These include problems such as anxiety, depression, and for some people stress may trigger episodes of psychosis and other problems. Likewise if we have physical health problems, recurring or otherwise, they too are likely to be triggered or exaccerbated. Most of us have an illness that flares up at these times. Worst still we also increase our risk of developing physical health problems. There is a real need in today’s society to acknowledge Stress, take steps towards preventing it where we can, and managing it where we can’t. Stress isn’t to be underestimated.

April is Stress Awareness month, a full month to focus on Stress. There are lots of things workplaces and communities can do, and lots of things you can do as an individual to look after yourselves. Following are just a few suggestions and resources that can help:

April is a great opporunity to start focussing on Stress Awareness, prevention and management, but it’s essential that it’s part of our agenda all year.

If you’d like to find out our courses can help or how you can develop a ‘whole business’ approach to mental health and well-being please contact us