Headed up by the Mental Health Foundation, the annual Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) campaign returns this week (14th – 20th May) following the theme of ‘Stress: are we coping?’

Many of us know what it’s like to feel stressed, but it’s not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. It can be seen as a normal part of life with many of us accepting that experiencing some form of stress is the price we pay to keep our lives on track.

It is important to recognise the difference between a short-term feeling of pressure and a long-term or overwhelming feeling of stress.

For example, you might find that you feel under pressure before a job interview. This can help you focus, be more alert and perform better. This feeling of pressure is linked to an event and any symptoms you experience should pass when the event is over.

Feeling overwhelmed by stress, or feeling stressed for long periods of time, can harm your health and wellbeing. Over time it can contribute to mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.

Councillor Martin Repton, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Care commented:

“Stress has become an everyday occurrence for so many of us that it almost seems normal to be stressed but that shouldn’t be the case. Stress can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing so I would encourage everyone to take a step back this week and think about the simple steps we can all take to reduce stress and improve our mental health.”

Three simple steps you can take when you’re feeling stressed

For more information about stress and advice on how to improve your wellbeing please visit:

Sometimes there are events in our lives that make it hard to imagine a better time. Remember you are not alone.

If you feel you cannot continue, or you know someone who feels like that, please talk to someone today. Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 for free or email jo@samaritans.org

In an emergency, where your life or someone else is in danger, always call 999 first.