The theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week shines a spotlight on stress and how tackling it can go a long way to reducing instances of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.   

Stress itself is not a mental health condition, but external stressors and individual vulnerabilities can often combine to lead to the development of mental ill health and mental illness. At any one time, 1 in 6 British workers will experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress. 

Therefore, as Mental Health Awareness Week approaches, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is calling on everyone to take action on stress - with its ‘Address Your Stress' campaign.

To enable more people to address their stress, MHFA England will launch a range of tools that allow people to reflect on the sources of stress in their life, spot the key signs they may be experiencing too much stress, and offer advice on creating a stress reduction plan.

Educating people about stress helps to encourage self-awareness and promote knowledge of where to go for support, when needed. In the workplace, the impact of ignoring stress is significant:

  • 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 
  • 526,000 workers experienced work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17

Caroline Hounsell, Psychotherapist and Director, MHFA England says:

"People experience stress whether at work, through our relationships or in the home. And it's not just negative changes in our lives but can also be positive events such as a promotion or a new marriage that can create stress. 

"None of us are immune to stress but some people are more vulnerable to it than others. It's how we recognise we may be experiencing too much stress and how we manage it through positive coping strategies that can help prevent it overwhelming us or contributing to mental ill health. 

"That's why we have created Address Your Stress Toolkit to enable more people to recognise the sources of daily stress, spot the signs of overstress in themselves and others, develop helpful coping strategies and recognise when they may need to access more support.

To find out more about MHFA England training visit where the Address Your Stress resources will shortly be released