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Stress Awareness Day

Posted on the 14th November 2014

Healthcare professionals at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust are encouraging residents across Lancashire to make a change, either big or small, to help reduce stress and improve their health and wellbeing as part of National Stress Awareness Day on 5 November.

National Stress Awareness Day is celebrated across the country and is led by the International Stress Management Association. The theme of this year’s awareness day is Stress: the balancing act, and encourages people to look at numerous solutions available to help get a good work and life balance. According to MIND, around 20 million working days are lost every year due to work related illness, costing British businesses £26 billion in sickness absence and lost productivity.  However, making small changes to our daily routine can help reduce stress, for example:

•    Taking time to look at your work/life balance
•    Adopting a healthy lifestyle
•    Making time to relax
•    Listening to your favourite music
•    Making time to meet family and friends
•    Accepting things you cannot change

Philip Gooden, Lead Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“When we feel stressed or anxious, it can be difficult to know what to do to make ourselves feel better. It is important that if people feel stressed they can identify the cause and make a change to help reduce it. With technology meaning we are contactable 24/7 and many people taking work home with them, a satisfactory work life balance may seem to be a thing of the past for a lot of people. The increased pressures of everyday life mean that many people are looking for new ways to cope, and we want to encourage people to focus on the present to help better manage their stress and anxiety.”

If people feel they need some additional help and support, the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of talking therapies and resources for people with common mental health problems, such as stress and anxiety. The team have now launched a self-referral form, making access to the service even quicker and simpler; by just completing an online form and pressing send. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can also contact the team by calling IAPT Ribble Valley 01200 420499/ IAPT Hyndburn, 01254 226007/IAPT Burnley, 01282 657244/IAPT Rossendale, 01282 657792 or 657798/IAPT Pendle, 01282 657929/IAPT Blackburn with Darwen: 01254 226037, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and complete the referral process over the phone.

Philip continued:

“IAPT provides a range of services that allows individuals to talk through their difficulties, or find new solutions to dealing with them which can make the world of difference. We hope that the easy access to the service via an online referral form and telephone number encourages people to get the help that they may need.”

The services offered by the IAPT team include workshops and online resources to help people manage stress and anxiety, counselling whereby Counsellors will work together with the individual to identify their needs and together agree the number of counselling sessions offered, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and also Computer assisted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT). Once the self-referral form is received, one of the team’s Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) will make contact with the individual to discuss their needs and agree the next steps forward. In addition to this, the Trust provides a series of Mindfulness sessions which help people relate differently to their thoughts and learn to acknowledge things that cannot be changed or controlled which in turn reduces stress and anxiety.

For more information about the IAPT service or to access the self-referral form, please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/IAPT or call your local area IAPT team. You can find out more about National Stress Awareness Day by visiting http://www.isma.org.uk/about-national-stress-awareness-day-nsad/.