International Stress Awareness Week was created to raise awareness of it in order to aid in its prevention. Over the years, it’s developed into a major yearly event focused on how to manage stress. People can find the support they need and learn more about how stress directly connects to other mental health issues.
Stress can affect everyone and anyone at some point, but countless numbers of young people are dealing with large amounts of stress on a daily basis. This stress seems to being triggered by only a few major areas. From what we could conclude they were their body image, appearance and pressure to succeed which goes hand to hand with their fear of making mistakes. Some shocking statistics highlight that 60% of young people (aged 18 to 24) have been so stressed with the pressure to succeed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope and 47% say their stress is caused by their body image and appearance.
These heart-breaking statistics demonstrate that a serious amount of stress is being placed on our young people according to multiple sources (ref. Mental Health Foundation Survey conducted by YouGov and Children’s Society Good Childhood Report )
Digging further into those feelings of “a pressure to succeed and feeling overwhelmed” within our young people we found it was during exam pressures and due to school expectations.
This year there was a piece of research conducted by Mark In Style (who recruit teachers) were alarmed to discover the following statistics:
79% of secondary school leaders had noticed an increase in the fear of academic failure amongst their pupils. That’s an alarmingly high number of school leaders noticing the pressures of the school system on their young people further alerting them to the fact that more and more students want to know understand the stress itself and how to avoid it at exam time. Making it very obvious to them the massive need for mental health support for young people. Which we at Transitions UK are very much aware of across all of our projects, but will talk about in more detail shortly in regards the Affirm project.
But firstly, let’s talk a bit more about stress itself. What is stress? What how does it effect us? Well, stress is our bodies natural response to pressure, and when it’s under that pressure it produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare your body to take urgent action (most of us have heard of this, it’s called fight or flight) and this in turn can lead to a number of side-effects.
These side-effects include: (not limited to)
– concentration problems
– weight gain or loss
– sleep problems
and to make matters worse, these side effects can actually cause more stress. This is why it is important to find ways to cope with stress, so that you deal with it as soon as it comes.
Everyone is different, but it can be brought upon us for lots of different reasons. Lots of us deal with stress in totally different ways. Some healthy and some not so healthy! Unfortunately, some stress and the circumstances that surround it, no matter how hard we try is simply unavoidable. If this is the case what can you practically do
Some great ideas on how to help you deal with situations that may be causing stress would be.
– Assessing where the problem lies and figuring where to make changes
– Getting support from family and friends
– Reaching out to a professional
– Eating healthy and exercising to boost your mood
– Cut down on smoking and drinking
– Taking time to relax
– Making sure you get enough sleep
– Not to be too hard on yourself
If you are feeling overwhelmed or need guidance in how to start feeling more in control, then it is always best to reach out to someone. There should be no shame or embarrassment in reaching out for help from family members, close friends, professionals or even having a mentor.
It is for this reason our Affirm Project was recently created. We recognised that our charity needed to create a project for the stressed young people facing challenges in our community. We understood the need of mental health and emotional support for young people was incredibly high and decided to fill that gap. Our project offers a two-year wrap around mentoring service which supports our young people into understanding and handling their stress and guiding them into better futures.
The project has recently been lifted off the ground this week by the Affirm team as they have been meeting with the first ever young people who will be enrolled onto the project. Soon enough, these beneficiaries will be matched with a mentor and will be on their way to growing their confidence and changing their lives in no time!
If you feel as if you or someone you know could benefit from being on the newly launched Affirm Project then head to https://www.transitionsuk.org/affirm today, where we can offer support through our amazing team and volunteer mentors.