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Help & Advice

National Stress Awareness Day

What can cause stress?

At HOPELineUK children and young people tell us that there are lots of different things that cause them to feel pressured or stressed. Here are some of the stresses you may be facing:*

  • Family problems
  • Friendships
  • Money
  • Work
  • Expectations from society and others around you
  • Body image and self-esteem issues
  • Bullying or harassment
  • Studying and exams
  • Being unwell
  • Thinking about the future
  • Social Media pressures

*This isn’t a complete list; there can be endless amounts of things that can cause people to feel stressed.

How can stress show?

  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Faster breathing
  • Feeling sick
  • Needing to go to the toilet frequently
  • Shaky legs or arms
  • Finding it difficult to focus or concentrate

When you are experiencing any of things above (or any other signs of stress), you may feel overwhelmed and worry about what is happening to you. Be reassured that these are natural reactions that we all experience from time to time; for example, you may feel sick or like you need to go to the toilet more, because the blood around your stomach is being redirected to your arms and legs. Or you may feel that your brain is working overtime – this is because there’s more blood pumping around, which can cause headaches, dizziness and make it harder to focus or concentrate.

Why do we feel like this? Everyone experiences stress at different points in their life, and the impact that stress can have on each of us will vary. Stress is a natural and physical response that our body starts to experience when there is a threat. It goes way back to our origins as cave people having to hunt for food and defend ourselves from threats like the sabre-tooth tiger – yikes!

This is what is commonly known as ‘fight and flight’ – our body’s response to a perceived threat. Our body is preparing itself to either fight the tiger or to flee from it, which is why we can experience different physical changes when we are in the fight or flight response.

Who can help?

If you find that stress is leading to experience thoughts or feelings of suicide, or you have concerns that a child or young person close to you is having thoughts of suicide, contact HOPELineUK by phone, text or email and talk to our suicide prevention advisors in confidence. Our advisors can provide short-term advice and support around staying safe from suicide, help you to work on a plan to keep safe for now, and look at ways to manage and cope with suicidal thoughts.

Below are some websites and resources which can help to reduce stress – take a look see which you feel may be a fit for you. Not everything will be right for everyone, but it’s important to find out what works for you, or what might help in different situations you encounter. Take some time to look at these – don’t try too much at once, as this could leave you feeling more stressed – and when you find ones that work for you, make them part of your habit or routine. This will help them to be more effective when you feel stressed.

Websites and resources to help with stress

A colouring book is a great way to manage stress - the PAPYRUS colouring book 'The Art of a Peaceful Mind' aims to promote self-care and mindfulness. You can buy it here, or download a free copy here.

Mental Health in Manchester has a number of relaxation tracks you can listen to online.

No Panic has a Crisis Breathing message that you can listen to online. Alternatively, you can call 01952 680835 and listen to it 24 hours a day as a pre-recorded message.

Start2 has a range of creative ways to help improve your wellbeing, including three stress-busting activities.

The Mental Health Foundation has a series of podcasts that are free to listen to and download. In ‘Stress and the Mind: The Full Works’, Dr David Peters talks through a series of exercises using positive emotions and imagery as a way to deal with stress.

The links below give for more information about what stress is and how to manage it. They are all free to view online or download.

BBC Brain Smart – Managing Stress video.

Mental Health in Manchester – From Distress to De-stress, a self-help guide.

Young Minds has a range of ideas and tools on how to help look after yourself, which could also help when dealing with stress or stressful situations.

The Mix has an app called ‘Stressheads'.


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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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