We are shining a light on the services available to help people manage anxiety this Mental Health Awareness Week.
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 15-21 May. This year, the theme is ‘anxiety’. Worries about things such as our health, money, work and relationships can make us feel anxious. Although this is normal, anxiety can sometimes get out of control. If this happens the symptoms of anxiety can significantly impact on our daily lives.
Dr Phil Anderson, Interim Director of Therapies at Surrey and Borders Partnership said: “Common mental health difficulties such as anxiety affect up to 1 in 6 people in the UK and can impact many areas of a person’s life. Getting help and support is the first step in taking back control and the good news is that there is now a lot of support available that can help people to better manage their anxiety.
“If a person finds that self-help does not work for them, evidence-based interventions from a qualified professional are very effective at helping to reduce symptoms and address the causes of anxiety.”
Our Mind Matters Surrey service is the local NHS provider offering free and confidential talking therapies to people aged 17+ registered with a Surrey GP. The service offers individual therapies, guided self-help online and group courses. To access the service, simply click on the refer yourself link and answer the questions on our friendly Limbic chat box. You do not need to be referred by a GP. If you have any questions about Mind Matters or the referral process, call 0300 330 5450 or text 07786 202565 between 8.30am-5.30pm.
Our Recovery College runs a wide range of courses which support people with their health and wellbeing. These are available to people living in Surrey and North East Hampshire. The courses are open to people experiencing a range of mental and physical health conditions, including anxiety. You can enrol to join a course on the Surrey Recovery College website.
In addition, the NHS every mind matters campaign offers effective self-help online materials. There is also guidance and support available on the Mind website.
Here are some simple changes and techniques you can try to manage your anxiety at home:
- Shift your focus: Some people find mindfulness and meditation (including breathing exercises and relaxation) help to calm anxiety and reduce tension by focussing awareness on the present moment. Try these NHS-recommended relaxation exercises.
- Exercise regularly: try some gentle stretches, yoga, or go for a walk. You could also try going for a run, swimming, or taking part in a fitness class.
- Keep a diary: Keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times may help you understand why you’re anxious and identify ways to manage or get rid of anxiety.
- Challenge your thoughts: Is what you’re worrying about likely to happen? Are you being realistic? Have you had similar thoughts which have not turned into reality? This can stop the feeling from overwhelming you.
- Try to get quality sleep or rest: If anxious thoughts keep you awake, write them down. If sleep is still not coming, get up and have a decaffeinated drink and wait until you’re feeling more tired before going back to bed.
- Get support for money worries: A common cause of anxiety is money. If you’re worried about not being able to pay bills, are struggling to repay debt, or aren’t sure if you can cover your living costs, seek help. You can also speak to an organisation such as Citizens Advice, visit the Mental Health and Money Advice website or call the Surrey Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm) about getting support.