It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May) and this year’s theme is anxiety. To raise awareness of the week, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust have launched a new podcast aimed at helping people manage their anxiety and encourage people to talk about their experiences.
Anxiety is a normal emotion, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. It is one of the most common mental health problems people face. In a recent mental health survey carried out around stress, anxiety and hopelessness over personal finances, a quarter of adults said they felt so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time. Six in ten adults feel this way, at least some of the time.
The Podcast ‘Let’s talk about Anxiety’ is hosted by Amy Francis, a psychological therapist for iTalk (NHS Talking Therapies) and explains what anxiety is, how to manage it, when to seek help and what services are available in Hampshire for anyone that needs support. Most importantly the podcast hopes to break the stigmas around anxiety and get people to start talking about their experiences.
“Anxiety is something we all experience and it is important to encourage anyone who is feeling anxious to talk about it and seek help when it starts to affect your everyday life. There is support available and we encourage people to seek out support early. Sometimes people can feel hesitate to speak about it or even dismiss those thoughts and there really are things that can help. This podcast I have recorded will help guide people through how to manage their anxiety.
Some top tips for managing anxiety include:
- Focus on breathing
- Get moving
- Keep a diary
- Challenge your thoughts
- Spend time in nature
- Connect with people
- Try and get some quality sleep
- Try to eat a healthy diet
- Get support if it gets too much
Sarah, from the New Forest, Hampshire, was referred to italk by her GP after the sudden death of a close friend triggered anxiety and intrusive thoughts and shares how these coping strategies really helped her reduce her anxieties.
“Using coping strategies to manage my anxiety really changed the way that I viewed things. My therapist heard my intrusive thoughts and helped me to reduce the power of them and ultimately to laugh at them - laughing at the thoughts can really take the power away from them once you understand what they are. She also gave me the tools and techniques to reduce the thoughts and their impact and enable me to live my life and I now use these tools every day to help me manage my anxiety. I now really want to help others, you don’t have to be alone, there will be dark days, but you will get better and if you are suffering from each out for support – it’s there and it will help you manage your anxiety”.
Italk have a range of tools, resources and support for any one experiencing anxiety, please visit: www.italk.org.uk