AS PART of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the organisation responsible for caring for people in Worcestershire with psychological problems is hoping to raise awareness of the issue.
About 50,000 people in Worcestershire suffer from mental health problems, with depression and anxiety the most common, and about 9,000 were referred to the county’s Primary Care Mental Health Service over the past 12 months.
Out of those, 3,600 started psychological therapy, with roughly half seeking treatment for anxiety.
Staff at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust are working to make more people aware of the impact anxiety can have on a person’s life.
Figures from the Mental Health Foundation show 56 per cent of people think they are more anxious today than they were five years ago.
Experts have said unchecked anxiety can cause long-term health problems including dizziness, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, irritability or loss of self-confidence.
The trust’s lead for adult mental health Mark Dickens said everyone experiences anxiety at some point.
“It is normal to experience anxiety in everyday situations,” he said.
“However, persistent and excessive anxiety can cause more serious mental health problems.”
Anxiety problems include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsion disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety and health anxiety.
Ways of coping with anxiety include understanding what triggers it, talking it through with family and friends, learning relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation as well as exercising, eating healthily and avoiding alcohol.
Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy have proved especially effective in treating anxiety, while medication and guided self-help are also used in the short term.
Support groups are also available, but anyone who feels anxiety is taking over their life should speak to their GP.
For more information on coping with anxiety visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk.
Anyone concerned about a friend or family member suffering from a mental health problem should call NHS 111.
In an emergency always dial 999.