During Stress Awareness Month, we’re sharing some of the ways that we support people to manage stress and prioritise their physical and mental wellbeing. 

We support people with a range of mental health conditions in our independent mental health hospitals including psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and generalised anxiety disorder.

We spoke to June Mercer, one of our Occupational Therapists, about how managing stress can benefit the recovery journeys of people we support. 

June said, “We support people to manage their stress by helping them to pursue their hobbies, supporting them with daily living tasks, and providing group therapy sessions focusing on relaxation and mindfulness. 
Within the therapy sessions, we focus on stress management and support people to identify their triggers and coping mechanisms. We then use exercises such as the ‘Stress Bucket’ or the ‘Five Spoons Theory’ to help people manage their mental wellbeing and prevent themselves from feeling overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions. 

We often refer the people we support to their local gym where they get 12 weeks free, which is important as physical and mental wellbeing are closely interlinked. All these interventions can help people to achieve specific outcomes, such as quitting smoking, or simply managing their stress levels in a healthier way. 

It’s also important to have strong social networks which allow the people we support to people about their mental wellbeing. Everybody’s recovery journey is different, but talking through things definitely helps when overcoming challenges or obstacles.
Some of the people we support experience symptoms such as hearing voices, which can lead them to feeling overwhelmed and highly stressed. To help combat this, we have access to a range of innovative technology including VR headsets, which often act as a coping mechanism for the people we support as it gives them something different to focus their attention on.” 

This year’s theme for Stress Awareness Month is ‘Little by Little’, which focuses on the small positive actions that we do to support our wellbeing. June says this is something that her and the rest of her support team aim to emphasise on a consistent basis: 

 “We always promote the importance of keeping active, but this doesn’t mean the people we support should go to the gym every day. We encourage them to start small, often with non-strenuous activities like yoga or pilates, because those small steps lead to huge improvements in physical and mental wellbeing.” 

Watch the video below to learn more about how we support people to manage stress and prioritise their wellbeing:

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