Home   News   Article

Anxiety: There is help and hope if you reach out

By Chris Saunderson

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

"NOBODY wants to die – all they want to do is take away the pain and suffering"

It's easy to become overwhelmed with life and start overthinking things when you are anxious.
It's easy to become overwhelmed with life and start overthinking things when you are anxious.

The words of former world boxing champion Carl Frampton talking about mental health on the Nicky Campbell show on BBC Radio 5 and why people would make the harrowing decision to take their own life.

The show, which was particularly focussed on men's mental health, featured calls from two parents whose children, one aged 21 and the other a teenager, completed suicide. It was a heartbreaking listen.

The Northern Irish boxer explores the issue further in a BBC documentary: "Carl Frampton: Men in Crisis" which you can watch on BBC iPlayer.

Anxiety – the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 15-21) – is something most of us, men and women, will experience at some time in our lives.

The key message is that talking and sharing your problems with friends, family and health professionals is vital.

There is a fine line between feeling anxious every now and then – a normal emotion when faced with challenges life throws at you – to anxiety becoming a debilitating condition which impacts every aspect of your life.

The Covid pandemic, followed by the cost-of-living crisis have exacerbated the level of anxiety people feel, but personal circumstances, traumas and everyday events can also leave people in a state of anxiety.

The Mental Health Foundation says anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems.

A survey commissioned by the foundation in late 2022 found that almost a quarter of adults in Scotland (24 per cent) feel so anxious that it stops them doing the things they need, or want to do, most or all of the time. Nearly six in ten adults in Scotland feel this way at least occasionally.

The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging people to share their experiences and what has helped, using the hashtag #ToHelpMyAnxiety.

More locally, the Highlands and Moray charity Mikeysline, is there to help people cope with anxiety and depression at times of crisis, but also to prevent people's mental health reaching the point of despair and hopelessness.

Emily Stokes of Mikeysline.
Emily Stokes of Mikeysline.

Emily Stokes, the chief executive, says anxiety is something that everybody feels when they are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or we think could happen in the future.

It is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It reminds us to stay

vigilant against threats.

However, for some people this ‘normal’ emotion can become heightened and problematic.

"At Mikeysline we are seeing a significant increase in both young people and adults who are

experiencing an increased level of anxiety post covid and the lockdowns," adds Emily.

"For some, this anxiety is triggered by being in crowded places, for young people, for example, this can be whilst at school, being in a room or corridor with all the noise and activity with people around them.

"For others, anxiety is impacting on their every day life, their ability to function as well as they used to at work, or school, to leave the house sometimes and is impacting significantly on both their physical and mental health."

Emily says anxiety can become a mental health problem if it does impact on your ability to live your life as fully as you want to.

There are some key signs you should look out for:

  • Your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time.
  • Your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation.
  • You avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious.
  • Your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control.
  • You regularly experience symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks and feeling physically unwell.
  • You find it hard to go about your everyday life or do things you enjoy.

It is important to remember that anxiety is not your fault and it is important to speak to other people about your difficult feelings, particularly if they have become severe.

There are things you can do to help your self-care, including getting more physical exercise, more sleep, eating healthy food where you can and talking through your concerns with someone you trust.

Anxiety can bring with it panic attacks which are frightening.
Anxiety can bring with it panic attacks which are frightening.

Emily adds: "This may be family, friends, your GP or us at Mikeysline or reaching out to another organisation who can support you.

"Our focus at Mikeysline is really to listen to what is causing you this anxiety and to look together at what positive steps could be taken to reduce this, including looking at simple coping strategies and actions to change situations where this is possible, or to make small but important changes that will reduce stress in any given situation.

"We would also help signpost you on to other organisations where we feel they could help look at any particular issues with you."

Mikeysline is there every evening of the week, through its text-based support options, through call back, online 1:1 support and through face to face 1:1 support.

"It’s ok not to be ok," stresses Emily, "but please don’t be alone with your anxiety. Please do reach out to someone you trust for support.

"Our team is here to listen and support you, offering non-judgemental and confidential support."

You can text Mikeysline on 07786 207755.

Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp on 01463 729000 or webchat via www.mikeysline.co.uk

Visit them at one of their Hives - for appointments please visit www.mikeysline.co.uk/appointments.

Mikeysline are quite literally saving lives and that's why they are Highland News and Media's charity of the year and if you would like to support their work, please go to HNM Mikeysline.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More