Stress: are we coping?

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 we are focusing on stress. This report looks at the prevalence of stress in the UK and its implications. It also focuses on what we can do to manage and reduce stress and our recommendations for the government in creating a stress-free UK.

While stress isn't a mental health problem in itself, it often leads to depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. It can also lead to physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease and joint and muscle problems.

How many of us are stressed?

Information on how many people in the UK population as a whole are affected by stress is very limited. However, our new survey found that over the past year, almost three quarters (74%) of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. The survey, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation and undertaken by YouGov, polled 4,169 adults in the UK in 2018.

To explore these figures in more depth, download the full report.

Our recommendations for less stressed nation

1. Health and social care professionals should assess and address the psychological and other stressors experienced by people living with long-term physical health conditions.

2. People presenting to a 'first point of contact' service in distress should receive a compassionate and trauma-informed response, regardless of where they live in the country.

3. Government and the Health & Safety Executive must ensure that employers treat physical and psychological hazards in the workplace equally and help employers recognise and address psychological hazards in the workplace under existing legislation.

4. Governments across the UK should introduce a minimum of two mental health days for every public sector worker.

5. Mental health literacy should be a core competency in teacher training. This should be combined with rolling out mental health literacy support for pupils in schools across the UK to embed a 'whole-school approach' to mental health and wellbeing.

6. The government should conduct an impact assessment of welfare reform and austerity programmes on mental health.

7. More research is needed on the prevalence of stress in the population, and on how the experience of stress can be reduced at the community and societal level.

To explore our recommendations in more depth, download the full report

We need your help

We run Mental Health Awareness Week every year and have been doing so since 2001. Each year we want to raise awareness and drive action to improve the mental health of the UK. We cannot do this without your help. Please consider a donation today.

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