Stress

Stress is the feeling of being under pressure.

Manageable or infrequent pressure is not harmful.  In fact, a little bit of pressure can increase productivity, be motivating and improve performance.  However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress, which can lead to serious heart problems, and may contribute to other types of physical and mental ill health,  It is difficult to estimate how common stress actually is but a survey found during 2008 and 2009 over 400,000 people in Britain were made unwell by work-related stress.  Regular relaxation, moderate exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep all help manage routine or short-term stress.  Symptoms caused by prolonged or regular stress may include indigestion, muscle pains, headaches, sleeplessness, irritability and poor memory and concentration.  If not treated, stress may cause further health problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension), anxiety and depression.  If you can’t improve matters yourself, further treatment may be required, including medication such as antidepressants or talking therapies such as counselling.

 

Depression

Depression is very different from the common experience of feeling unhappy for a short time. 

Whilst unhappiness is a normal response to unpleasant events, depression is a serious illness. When depressed, you may have feelings of such extreme sadness that they interfere with daily life and last for weeks or months, rather than days.  Signs that you may have depression include: loss of interest in your favourite things; loss of self-confidence; increased feelings of anxiety; thoughts of death or suicide; poor memory and concentration; and feeling more irritable, frustrated, or aggressive than usual.

Depression is quite common; about one in ten people will experience it at some point.  Women are more likely to have depression than men, and 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression at some point, compared to 1 in 10 men.

It is important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed.  With the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery from depression.

 

Counselling

Counselling is a type of talking therapy or psychological therapy. 

It involves exploring, in a private and confidential setting, personal difficulties you may be experiencing.  Counsellors are trained to listen sympathetically and, without giving advice or direction, help you use your own resources to lead a more fulfilling life.  People who are recently bereaved or have lost their sense of purpose may find the support offered by counselling helps them through a difficult transition in life.