This year, Mental Health Awareness week runs from Monday 15th May 2023 to Sunday 21st May 2023 and the focus for this year is ‘anxiety’.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that is probably more common than you expect. In fact, we have all likely experienced a form of anxiety at some point in our lives. However, sometimes it can get out of control and can become a mental health issue and for people living with an anxiety disorder, their intense feelings of anxiety can occur frequently and impact the quality of their lives.
When talking of anxiety, you have probably heard that it is “just worrying” or “just stressed” but these phrases can actually be harmful as you are dismissing or invalidating someone’s problem. So, lets challenge that way of thinking and be open to discussing it more.
What can cause anxiety?
There are a number of things that can cause feelings of anxiety such as relationship pressures, exam or study, starting a new job, losing a job, financial worries, and many other big life events.
In fact, anxiety can be caused by so many various things that it is one of the more common types of mental health problems and over 8 million people in the UK currently are affected by anxiety disorders.
What types of anxiety are there?
The most common types that you will have heard about when you hear anxiety disorders are:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Social anxiety disorder
However, there are also less common types such as agoraphobia which can relate to the fear of public spaces, or anxiety around changes to our health, or selective mutism which is when someone with language skills fails to speak in specific social settings.
Did you know?
1 in 10 people in the UK will be living with an anxiety disorder at any one time.
Whilst some people live with a constant feeling of anxiety, it can also affect people who feel confident and in control.
Anxiety can be triggered by a single negative experience.
People with anxiety cope with stressful situations by managing their symptoms in their own ways. Not any two people will handle a situation the same way.
General anxiety disorder is most common in people aged between 35 and 59.
Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety.
Do you need support implementing wellbeing support in your business? Our HR experts can help.
- Create a culture where staff feel confident/supported to talk about their mental health - communicate, strategize, invest and have policy – check in! model healthy behaviours.
- Ensure colleagues are confident in how to have a conversation about mental health – mental health and wellbeing training, have mental health first aiders, ensure policy documents reference mental health support.
- Offer flexibility and be inclusive - Ask colleagues to be patient and understanding with one another as they adapt. Trust them and assume the best. They are relying on you and will remember how you treated them during times of vulnerability.