This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is Anxiety.
This theme was chosen by the Mental Health Foundation as they wanted to highlight that, at some point in our lives, everyone will have felt anxious, and it is important that we can recognise and respond to these feelings.
We may feel anxious about something we are going through, or something we are worried about. This is especially true during times of uncertainty such as the cost-of-living crisis or when we are going through big life events like exams, starting a new job, or going to a new school.
It’s really important to remember that feeling anxious is often a normal response to something you are experiencing and does not necessarily mean you have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of intense fear and panic inside us. Most people will feel anxious when faced with difficult and stressful situations in life, such as exams at school – it is a perfectly understandable and common reaction. Often, once a stressful period of time comes to an end, we feel calmer and less anxious again. But sometimes these painful emotions continue, and we may find ourselves feeling greater levels of fear and panic more often than other people. At this point they may develop into anxiety disorders. Anxiety tends to be constant, whereas stress comes and goes.
Typically, anxiety disorders present themselves in one of three ways:
• Generalised panic disorder (GAD) – we will likely feel anxious most of the time and find it heavily impacts our day-to-day lives
• Panic attacks – We may suffer with unpredictable and very intense attacks of anxiety, with feelings coming on suddenly and reaching a peak within ten minutes. Physical symptoms are very common when suffering a panic attack, like feeling short of breath, having a racing heart beat and chest pains, and feeling like we are going to die, making them very frightening
• Phobias – When we suffer phobias our anxiety tends to be focussed on one particular issue. It might not seem like something to be feared by other people, but we can still be anxious and nervous about it, causing us to actively avoid it. Types of phobia include agoraphobia (a fear of going outside and in crowds), emetophobia (fear of vomit or vomiting), and social phobia (fear of meeting new people).
You can hear from our Young Ambassador, Fen, in this video about their experience of living with generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder. They also share some advice to those who are struggling!
Check out our Anxiety Fact Sheet here for more information and advice.
What can I do to look after my mental health during this week and when I feel anxious?
- Take some time for YOU and practice some Self-Care!
Make sure to schedule in some time to look after yourself and practice some Self-Care! This doesn’t have to be an hour-long yoga routine; it could just be spending some time playing a game you really enjoy or taking a 15-minute walk! Check out our dedicated self-care page here for some ideas, including some resources especially focused on anxiety.
The Mental Health Foundation also have some useful resources that may be useful in supporting you and help with your self-care planning that can be found here! They cover topics such as sleep, mindfulness, stress, mental health at work and many more!
- Be mindful of the content you are consuming!
During this week, there can be a lot more content appearing in our feeds, especially about mental health statistics and people’s personal stories about their mental health. Whilst it is great that these are being shared, it may also have an impact on our mental health if we are consuming too much in one go so be sure to take regular breaks and mute hashtags or keywords if you need to!
• Find support for you in your area!
It can be hard to know what support we need, and what is available, especially in our local area. This blog contains information and links to different local organisations that can support you!
How can I support No5 and local young people’s mental health during this week?
- Vote for No5 in The People’s Projects!
You can help No5 secure £70,000 of National Lottery Funding to support an additional 300 local young people over the next 12 months! Voting is free and no personal data is stored about you once verification has been completed.
Vote for us here!
For more information check out our blog here!
- Become a donor!
You can become a regular donor or give a one-off donation to No5 here! Your contribution allows us to meet more local young people and provide the support they need!
- Make a pledge of support for #ReadingYoungPeoplesHub!
Pledge your support here to help us open Reading Young People’s Hub – a drop-in, centralised safe space where young people can access all the information, advice and support they need, delivered by a partnership of services, under one roof.
Or why not ‘Buy a Brick’ and add your name to Hub’s mural of supporters? Find out more here!
Want to know about Mental Health Awareness Week? Check out the Mental Health Foundation’s website here!