This week – 14th to the 20th of May is Mental Health Awareness week.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week; the focus is on stress and what we can do about it.

I heard some stark figures on the radio yesterday. It said that in the last year 75% of UK adults have felt ‘overwhelmed’ or unable to cope because of stress.  I come from a mental health background, I know that the number of people affected by mental health at some point in their lives is high but even this figure caught me by surprise.  75% or 3 quarters of us! That is a worrying statistic in what we consider to be a ‘switched on’ society.

Beyond these figures it has much more relevance when we think that this could be a friend, family member, work colleague or indeed ourselves.

Stress can be a good thing in small doses; it can help us focus and be motivated to take on challenges. But when we are exposed to constant stressful situations, with no let up and with no obvious solutions to resolve it, stress can takeover, it can be a disabling and lonely place to be.

I mentioned the ‘switched on’ society we live in. What I meant by this is the increasing need for us  to be in contact with each other, emails or social media, evenings and weekends – it sometimes can feel like there is no let-up in the demand for our attention.  Sometimes we just need to be able to ‘switch off’, take time out – maybe stop tweeting and start talking (at least for a while).

There are some good tips to help manage stress on the Mind website – you can find it by clicking here.

After nearly 20 years working with carers I know stress is a real and everyday thing for a great number of people we support at Carers Leeds. Uncertain about the future and with time and financial constraints adding to the pressure it is no surprise (but still dismaying) to hear that 92% of carers say that their mental health has been affected by their caring role.

In Leeds we have a great resource called Mindwell to support you or people you may know who are struggling with things at the moment – check it out!

If you are a carer and you are feeling overwhelmed please give us a call so that we can help you.

Our Advice Line is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4-30pm. The telephone number is 0113 3804300.

Steve Taylor, Service Delivery Manager