Group course options available from MyWellbeing CollegeMyWellbeing College, which helps people navigate their way through life’s ups and downs, will be backing Mental Health Awareness Week, 14 – 20 May 2018, and is supporting people to beat stress with free courses available through the college.

This is part of a national campaign, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation, and the theme for this year focuses on stress.  According to the Mental Health Foundation, 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year, and stress is a key factor in this.

Stress is part of everyday life and can be beneficial; it can get us out of bed in the morning and motivates us throughout the day.  But high levels over a long period can be bad for our health leaving us feeling irritable with friends and family, anxious, tired, unable to sleep and feeling that there are not enough hours in the day to get things done.

Factors such as heavy workloads, moving house, bereavement, getting married, relationship issues, money worries, low mood and health issues are all circumstances that can result in stress.

The free stress control group-based course, which runs over a six-week period, has been helping people in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale and Craven to spot the early signs and manage stress. Stress control is also a course with a difference, as people can bring along a friend, carer, partner or relative for additional support.

Gemma Pywell benefited from enrolling on a course to tackle stress, which led to a boost in self-confidence and a positive impact on her life. From the age of eleven Gemma felt anxious and shy in social settings. This led to Gemma experiencing low mood, anxiety and loneliness during her teenage years. Now in her early twenties and a confident dental nurse, Gemma credits the course with giving her the tools she needed to tackle stress.

Elaborating further Gemma explained: “I’ve always been quite a shy and anxious person, especially when it came to going places and big groups, that’s always been my big thing, social settings, and it’s developed through my teens to low mood and feeling lonely.”  Gemma was offered a variety of options including phone advice, one-to-one or group courses.  “I chose to go for the group course because I’d had one-to-one counselling before and thought this time, why not be a bit more daring so I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I surprised myself a lot by speaking out in front of the group, which was good.  I definitely feel the experience and the course helped me build my confidence.  Everyone was really welcoming and it was a good way to learn new methods to manage anxiety and stress.”

During the sessions course participants will find out more about stress, recognising the signs and physical symptoms, techniques to manage stress, including relaxation exercises, tips and techniques to do at home, as well as a one-minute meditation taster session to give people a flavour of what is available through the MyWellbeing College.  Attendees will also hear about factors which contribute to stress, including alcohol, caffeine and smoking.

Gayle Porter, Clinical Manager, at MyWellbeing College, said: “At different points in our lives stress can affect any of us.  Recognising the signs and symptoms, by attending one of the many stress control courses run locally, can help people experiencing stress to manage it more effectively.  People that have attended sessions have credited the course with getting them back on track.”

During the week, as part of its wider work with employers across the district, MyWellbeing College is running stress buster sessions for staff at Yorkshire Building Society’s main office in Bradford, as part of their wellbeing programme.

In the run up to Mental Health Awareness Week, the Care Trust will also be hosting a Depression in Older Adults event, as depression is one of the main mental health problems in older age. The free talk by Dr Anil Pillai, Older People’s Consultant, will outline the causes of depression; how it manifests itself; its impact on daily life and the risks associated with the illness; managing anxiety; and self-help support available.  To register your interest to attend the event at Care Trust headquarters, New Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, Shipley, BD18 3LD, Wednesday, 9 May 2018, 9.30am -12.00 noon, please contact the membership office on telephone: 01274 363430 or email: ft@bdct.nhs.uk.

The MyWellbeing College is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is registered with a GP in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale or Craven.  People don’t have to go through their GP to enrol on a course, they can register online at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk or give the enrolment team a call on 0300 555 5551 to chat through the range of options available.