Putting the stress on mental health and improving access to therapies

Stress and other mental health conditions come under the spotlight during Mental Health Awareness Week.

The week runs from Monday May 14 to Sunday May 20 and is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.

Stress – a feeling of being under abnormal pressure – is a major cause of mental health problems and can lead to self-harm and even suicide.

Mental Health services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are leading the way in a nationwide drive to improve care for adults with anxiety disorders and depression, including stress.

Leading GP Dr Waheed Abbasi, Clinical Director for Mental Health said: “Around one in four people will experience a diagnosable mental health problem in their lifetime and we know that demand for mental health services is set to grow. Our priority is to ensure patients receive timely access to psychological therapies so that they can receive the right support closer to home.”

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week people are being encouraged to know the signs of stress and the psychological and physical symptoms associated with it such as palpitations and quicker than normal breathing.

Dr Abbasi said: “We all experience stress and we all deal with it differently. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible

“In Staffordshire we are making strong progress in delivering IAPT and are determined to keep the momentum going. We know that there is still more work for us to do to improve access to wider mental health services and are working with local patients and partners through our Mental Health Citizen’s Jury in the north of the county to develop an action plan for adult mental health services.” 

Local services can be contacted on the numbers below and their websites contain useful information on reducing stress.

North Staffordshire patients – North Staffordshire Wellbeing Service on 01782 711651.

Stoke-on-Trent patients – Healthy Minds on 0300 123 0907

Stafford & Cannock patients – Starfish Health and Wellbeing – 01785 243002 or 01543 572161

East Staffordshire patients – NHS SSSFT - 01283 536645 or 0300 555 5001

South Staffordshire patients - NHS SSSFT - 01785 783031 or 0300 555 5001

Burntwood, Lichfield and Tamworth patients - NHS SSSFT -01827 288843 or 0300 555 5001