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May 17, 2018

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Five key facts about stress that everyone should know

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is shining a spotlight on stress. Here, Jaan Madan, Workplace Lead at Mental Health First Aid England, looks at five key facts about stress that everyone should know.

  1. Stress isn’t always bad for us

Stress is the body’s natural response when it senses danger. We all experience stress and need it to function. So the right amount of stress is healthy and a motivating factor – it’s when it starts to interfere with our lives that it becomes a problem. Too much stress, for too long, can make us ill – mentally and physically.

  1. Stress isn’t a mental health condition

Stress in itself is not a mental health condition. But if unaddressed, too much stress for too long can cause mental health issues like depression or anxiety and harm our physical health. One in six adults in Britain experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at any one time.

  1. You can control stress

Whilst it is not always possible to control the sources of stress there are some simple and helpful coping strategies that can make a big difference. Regular exercise, setting aside time for hobbies or activities and spending regular time switched off from distractions can help us build resilience in to our lives. Even at times when we’re experiencing more stress than usual, simple strategies and adjustments can help ensure that stress don’t build up to a point where it negatively impacts our mental health.

  1. Happy events can cause stress too

It’s not just heavy workloads, money worries, or uncertainty that causes stress. Even happy life events such as having children, getting married or starting a new job can be stressful. It’s important for people to be aware that there are many different factors that can cause people to feel stressed and that we all experience stress differently.

  1. We all have an individual ‘stress signature’

We all handle stress differently and each have our own unique vulnerability to it. But there are some common emotional, behavioural and physical signs that could show someone is in need of support. Physical signs include constant tiredness or frequent headaches, while emotional signs include becoming more irritable or a loss of confidence. Meanwhile, indecision or forgetfulness are examples of behavioural signs that could indicate excessive or prolonged stress.

One in six of us experience mental health issues relating to stress and, this week, we’ve partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to highlight their research revealing that 23% of us compromise our health – mental or physical – to do our job. So there’s a real urgency for more people to understand stress and to feel confident offering basic support to help others, or themselves, cope.


Mental Health and Wellbeing is the focus of the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Theatre at the Safety & Health Expo 2018.

Hear industry leaders share their own personal stories in the brand new Occupational Health and Wellbeing Zone, with talks on mental health, reducing stress, boosting resilience, including a discussion with Santander on how to manage psychological wellbeing for positive business outcome. Seminar topics include : ‘Health risk management approaches’, ‘Using nature-inspired design to improve office occupant health and wellbeing’ and many more debates and panels…

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
5 years ago

Absolutely fine and dandy except when the stress, strain and fatigue has already manifested in long term debilitating RSI injuries in DSE user operators affecting their wellbeing, health and productivity as they continue present on the job but, loosing 20% or 30 days productivity due to their presenteeism.

Paul Cookson
Paul Cookson
5 years ago

This article is the best I have read in relation to mental health! It is actually useful, informative, to the point and not trying to push other agendas including making business responsible for helping every aspect of someones life.