Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's (NSFT) Wellbeing Services are offering advice on spotting the signs of stress and protecting worker’s health in the run up to national Stress Awareness Day.
Taking place on Wednesday (2 November), this year’s awareness day carries the theme ‘Workforce Wellness - Your Prime Investment’.
Its aim is to encourage employers to recognise that their most valuable resource is their staff, and that prioritising both their physical and emotional wellbeing is of crucial importance.
Staff from Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney and Wellbeing Suffolk are also using the day to remind people of the range of support which is available to manage stress and low mood, which includes free courses to help people cope more effectively.
Nesta Reeve, Consultant Clinical psychologist at NSFT, said: “Stress is a very common issue and has an impact on every area of life including home life, relationships, family life, physical health and work. It can also lead to long-term sickness, in turn having a major impact on productivity and causing issues for employers.
“It’s important to recognise that stress is not good for you and not a positive thing. It creates unhealthy biological reactions, and prolonged stress can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and low mood and well as physical issues such as back pain and headaches.
“There is a big difference between feeling under a bit of positive pressure and stress. Stress only happens when people feel they don't have control over events. However, by recognising the signs of stress early, and taking active steps to manage symptoms, people can take a proactive approach to managing their health.”
The Wellbeing Services offer ‘Stress Control’ courses, which run for four weeks to help people learn strategies to manage stress, anxiety and low mood, as well as shorter, ‘Introduction to Mindfulness’ courses, which last for two hours.
Both courses are available in a range of community venues or can be completed as an interactive webinar via the Wellbeing website, at www.wellbeingnands.co.uk
Jacqui Frost, 63, from King’s Lynn, has completed both courses within the last twelve months after suffering with stress for eight years.
She said: “Before attending the courses I was really afraid to go out and communicate with people and would stay at home and cry all the time. It took me a long time to realise I had a problem with stress.
“But now I’ve learnt how to relax and have my own ‘worry times’, and know how to put my problems behind me.
“The courses were such a great help. I realised that I was not the only one suffering from stress and that there were other people like me.”
Anyone who lives in Norfolk or Suffolk and is registered with a GP can self-refer to the Wellbeing Services for help with stress, anxiety or depression.
People living in Norfolk should call 0300 123 1503, while those in Suffolk can ring 0300 123 1781