Mental Health Awareness Week: Stress

Credit @seemescotland on Twitter

This week it’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) but mental health affects people all year round. We’ve talked about opening up when you’re struggling with your mental health and about body image.

The focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is stress, but this is something that we all experience every day. Even your favourite celebs experience it. This week Willow Smith spoke out about how stress and being unsure of what she was doing in her life led her to self-harm.

Sometimes we don’t know why we’re stressed or what we can do about it. High levels of stress can lead to bigger mental health problems. No matter how small a problem seems, it’s important to talk to someone and to remember that stress is completely normal and nothing to be embarrassed about.

Signs of stress

During exams and in the build up to graduation, stress can get too much and stop you from doing things. Stress can feel like you’re under pressure, it can give you stomachaches, headaches, affect your breathing and even ruin your sleep.

High levels of stress can make you feel isolated and not want to be around other people. It can also affect your school work or make you feel irritable or worried constantly.

How to deal with stress

Dealing with stress can feel impossible because there’s always something that’s going to stress you out, but there are ways to manage stress. During stressful times, like exams, it’s important to organise your time and to make sure you have time for yourself. Even taking five minutes to take a breather can reduce stress. Click here for more ways to keep calm during your exams.

Talking to friends or family about what’s making you stressed can help you to understand and resolve it, if you don’t feel like this is an option then call one of the helplines below.

Taking time for yourself, and rewarding yourself when you achieve things, is so important when combating stress. Make a chill-out playlist, download a meditation app like Headspace, go hang out with friends or fit in some exercise. Even an at-home pamper evening will help.


It might seem like you shouldn’t speak up about stress because there are ‘bigger problems’ in the world, but getting help no matter how small the problem is important. There are a number of helplines, text services and websites specially formed to help those struggling with their mental health.


Helpline: 116 123


Helpline: 0300 123 3393
Text: 86463


Phone: 0141 530 1000


Helpline: 01708 765200

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