Stress Awareness Month 2022

Friday 1st April 2022

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.  The last two years have been the most challenging we have faced and in 2020 mental health services were overwhelmed by people that are struggling and seeking support. 

This year the theme for Stress Awareness Week is Community.  This theme has been chosen because lack of support can cause loneliness and isolation, which in turn lowers people’s wellbeing, impacts mental health and can lead to mental illness. Social isolation is an important risk factor for both deteriorating mental health and suicide. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that the community support experienced by many people during this challenging time continues.  Although restrictions have mainly been lifted, people need support now more than ever as they adjust to a new way of living.

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"Stress is our body’s response to pressure. Many different situations or life events can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, unexpected or that threatens our sense of self, or when we feel we have little control over a situation."

We all deal with stress differently. Our ability to cope can depend on our genetics, early life events, personality and social and economic circumstances. When we encounter stress, our body produces stress hormones that trigger a fight or flight response and activate our immune system. This helps us respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Sometimes, this stress response can be useful: it can help us push through fear or pain so we can run a marathon or deliver a speech, for example. Our stress hormones will usually go back to normal quickly once the stressful event is over, and there won’t be any lasting effects.

However, too much stress can cause negative effects. It can leave us in a permanent stage of fight or flight, leaving us overwhelmed or unable to cope. Long term, this can affect our physical and mental health.