The Mental Health Foundation has revealed that one in six adults have a common mental health disorder. As a college and as a community, we want to help raise awareness on the subject of mental health to ensure that you and the ones you love are at less risk of becoming one of these upsetting statistics...
The focus of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is stress, which can be both a side effect and catalyst of many mental health problems. With stress having many negative effects on an individual’s quality of life, it is easy for someone to become engulfed in the emotions associated with stress, and view it as part of their own daily lifestyle and individual nature. This is why we want to inform individuals of the normality of stress, yet the dangers of leaving it unmanaged to a point where it drastically escalates.
So, why is controlling stress so important for improving an individual’s mental health? By controlling the extent of stress that you or someone you know may be suffering from can provide a beneficial boost to your immune functions. This allows you to feel not only more in control of your emotions but your daily lifestyles too. Which, if you are a student, is an important necessity when coping at college. Controlling stress is also great for improving the functioning of the brain, helping to reduce anxiety and irrational thoughts that are also commonly associated with mental health issues. Through this, individuals will be able to regain the focus they may have temporarily lost, helping them to become accustomed with logical and important experiences once more - another important necessity for students especially around exam season, when concentration and focus is key. ‘Through my own personal experience as a college student with mental health issues that have been increasingly challenging when accompanied by stress, I think its important to recognise and address stress before it escalates into something even more consuming and exhausting – which in many cases, without efficient help, it does…’
However, knowing the importance of controlling stress is only one step in a process of being able to help yourself, or someone you may know who experiences stress to a life-consuming extent. Within the complexities of mental health issues, everyone uses various coping methods to deal with stress, depending hugely on the situation in which stress arises from.
As a student, stress is a more common occurrence around exam season, when revision becomes endless and the importance of target grades become intensified. Stress is becoming increasingly common for more and more young people. 10% of children and young people aged 5-16 years of age are being diagnosed with a mental health problem and there are still a proportion of young people who are undiagnosed.
There are plenty of various support platforms available at Worthing College to allow students to talk about their worries. This allows students to deal with issues, as well as minimalize the strains that stress can have on their daily routines. These include confiding in parents, teachers, the Student Support and Advice office and personal mentors. As well as this, we offer professional on-site free counselling available for those who may need the extra assistance in managing with such detrimental mental health problems.
Not only is stress a major issue that arises in an educational environment, but many people within the working environment also struggle with stress on numerous occasions. Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation reveal that 12.8% of sickness absence days in the UK are due to mental health conditions, alongside the statistic that 1 in 6.8 people in the workplace experience mental health issues. With strategies such as ensuring workload is kept at a manageable level, as well as seeking assistance if the working environment becomes too intense (which is often dealt with by consulting managers or doctors if necessary), stress can be handled in a suitable manner, allowing sufferers to continue with their daily lifestyles to a manageable extent.
So, how can stress be dealt with generally and what help is available to anyone who is dealing with the burden stress is placing upon them? Firstly, it is important to keep stress to a minimum, as despite being healthy to experience stress occasionally, too much stress intruding your everyday lifestyle can be a major contributor to poor mental health. By maintaining healthy sleeping and eating patterns, as well as making times for restful hobbies and exercise, stress can be limited to a bearable extent, allowing you to regain a healthy and happy lifestyle. With plenty of people available to talk to – including loved ones, councillors and support foundations for mental health conditions such as ‘Find It Out’ – stress can become gradually less dominating on its impact on individuals, and hence mental health can be rapidly improved as a result; a key aim in which Mental Health Awareness Week hopes to achieve one day.