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Are you surviving or thriving?

Mental Health Awareness Week starts 14 May.mental health artwork southwark-lewisham-croydon.png

Mental Health Awareness Week starts on 14 May and this year the focus is on stress. 

Around 16 million people are affected by poor mental health every year and stress often plays a key role in making things feel worse. Stress can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable. All sorts of situations can cause stress. Some of the most common involve work, money matters and relationships with partners, children or other family members. Stress may also be caused either by major upheavals and life events such as divorce, unemployment, moving house and bereavement, or by a series of minor irritations such as feeling undervalued at work. Sometimes there are no obvious causes.  Some stress is normal but too much can be harmful.

In Lewisham mental health related issues include has higher-than-average rates of people living with mental health conditions. 10-20% of women are affected by mental health problems during or immediately their child is born and black and minority people are under-represented in referrals for treatment.

Dr Marc Rowland, Local GP and Chair at NHS Lewisham CCG said: "1/16 people in Lewisham are affected by depression and the borough has more people living with severe mental health problems than the national average. Physical health and mental health are often linked. For example, people recovering from a heart condition or cancer may also feel depressed and there is some evidence that being depressed makes you more likely to get physical illnesses.''

"There are degrees of poor mental health but it is surprising just how many GP appointments are now taken up by people suffering from anxiety, depression and home and work related stress. I'd estimate around 30% or more appointments involve some form of mental health related issue nowadays."

Lewisham now offers a service called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPTS) which people can be referred to by their GP or refer themselves for mild  mental health issues. It offers practical advice and support simple measures people can take to improve their mood, deal with stress, anxiety and improve wellbeing.

For more details on accessing mental health support through the NHS, click here.

For more details on stress, symptoms and help options, click here.