Take a step to become de-stressed, not distressed

7th April 2021

April is Stress Awareness Month, and Dorset HealthCare is reminding people that support is available to help alleviate stress before it spirals out of control.

The Trust has put together a new webpage – www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/takeastep – signposting a wide range of support services available for people who are struggling to cope or feel they are in crisis.

It features a host of useful contact information, including where to access 24-hour telephone help and the chance to talk to someone online, as well as self-help resources and tailored support for children and young people.

The past year has been especially difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. We’ve all faced new challenges, from lockdown fatigue and fears over job security to balancing working from home with child care responsibilities – all while trying to avoid catching or spreading the virus. 

A study conducted by the Stress Management Society reported that 65 per cent of people in the UK have felt more stressed since the COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020. The study of 2,000 adults revealed that the key causes of concern are feelings of disconnection, uncertainty and a worrying loss of control.

Managing stress and the situations it causes is not easy. Whether it’s work-related or in your personal life, it can take a toll on your health and quickly lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious or depressed.

Dorset HealthCare – which runs the county’s mental health services – is teaming up with NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to encourage people to take the right step and get the support they need before feelings of stress take over.

Clare Hurley, Head of Dorset HealthCare’s Adult Psychological Services, said:

“Many of us around the UK are experiencing high levels of stress. Not only does it have an effect mentally, but stress is also linked to physical health problems, such as heart disease, our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.

“If you are feeling stressed and need support, we provide a range of services that are here to help you take the right step to guide your through.”

Natasha Evans, 34 from Poole, was previously diagnosed with depressive disorder after a period of stressful events. Some of which were big life changes, such as, moving to a different area, changing jobs and starting a college course, while others were as a result of those changes - feeling isolated and cut off from friends and family, and feeling overwhelmed.

She said: “Prior to me becoming unwell, I experienced many physical symptoms of stress, such as palpitations, loss of appetite and difficulties sleeping, but I felt that I was too busy to listen to them. 

“My periods of illness have taught me how important it is to take care of myself. I used to feel that I should be able to cope with everything, but now I realise that I need to show myself compassion when things are difficult, rather than just pushing through. It’s important to remember that things do get better. Stress can affect everyone but no matter how you are feeling, there are people who want to help. You are not alone.”

Throughout April and beyond, we can all help reduce the stigma associated with stress and support people to deal with it. Here are some top tips.

  • Talk about stress and its effects – let’s work together and talk about the topic openly and freely with friends, family and colleagues
  • Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you, why not share it? It might benefit someone you care about and could also help take your focus off your own challenges
  • Be supportive of those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime, so treat others going through it with compassion and empathy
  • Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self-care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to exercise and eat well, even when you feel stressed.

To take that first step, just visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/takeastep.Take A Step graphic.png

As part of Stress Awareness Month, the Stress Management Society is also providing a range of resources, materials and a 30-day challenge to help regain connectivity, certainty and control. Find out more at www.stress.org.uk/stressawarenessmonth


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