Mental Health: Symptoms of Stress, Anxiety & Depression

With more men talking about their mental health, raising awareness and increasing knowledge about mental health, and reflecting on their own wellbeing, we talked with Dr Zain Sikafi, CEO and co-founder of online counselling platform, Mynurva. He looks at some of the signs which could mean you or someone you know might need some help and support...

World Mental Health Day is raising awareness of mental wellbeing. Image: IngImage.

Unfortunately, poor mental health is a common problem in the UK, affecting millions of people across the country. According to the NHS, one in four people is affected by a mental illness, with the most common symptoms being stress and anxiety.

Results from the 2018 Mental Health Foundation survey revealed that in the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics suggests that nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression. 

Mental health of fathers is often overlooked, however many face enormous pressures that take a toll on their wellbeing – particularly if they must balance their work life with their responsibilities of caring for their children. According to the Mental Health Foundation, over one third (39.2%) of young fathers wanted support for their mental health, while some estimates reveal that more than 25% of new fathers experience depression in the first year. Often, this is undiagnosed and untreated. 

Stress at work, relationship difficulties and divorce are but a few triggers of mental health problems in dads and should be treated with importance. The pressure of juggling different roles can take a significant toll on fathers, resulting in symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. 

Recognising your symptoms is the first step to addressing your mental health problems, so how can you identify and assess whether you – or someone you know – are experiencing a mental health issue? 

Stress

Although stress is often talked about, most of us don’t realise the effect that stress have on in the long-term. In reality, stress can affect all aspects of our lives – our emotions, behaviours, thinking ability and physical health are all influenced and hindered by stress. 

Stress tends to slowly creep up on us. We get so used to dealing with it on a regular basis that we often don’t realise the effect it is taking on our physical and mental wellbeing. It’s important to talk about the signs of stress so we can realise when they start to happen, and hopefully prevent chronic stress. There are a few common symptoms to be aware of:

Emotional symptoms

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, or moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed all the time
  • Being unable to relax or quieten your mind
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding friends 

Physical symptoms

  • Low levels of energy
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Aches and pains

Cognitive symptoms

  • Poor judgement
  • Constant worrying
  • An inability to focus 

Anxiety

Anxiety is another common mental health issue that can cause a significant change in your behaviour and affect the way you think and feel about things. 

Emotional symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling constantly “on edge”
  • Irritability 

Physical symptoms

  • Tiredness or insomnia
  • A noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle aches and tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sick
  • Headaches

Cognitive symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating 

Depression

Depression is a topic of conversation that many of us struggle to have openly. In particular, those who struggle with depression find it hard to talk about the issue with their friends and family. This is a list of the most common signs of depression:

  • Feeling down, upset or tearful
  • Feeling restless, agitated or irritable
  • Feeling guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • Feeling isolated and unable to relate to other people
  • Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
  • A sense of unreality
  • Having little or no self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Feeling hopeless and despairing

With the growing prevalence of mental health issue in all, it’s important for everyone to take the time to look after their own mental health and familiarise themselves with common mental health symptoms. Recognising that you – or someone you know – is suffering is the first step to addressing these problems and seeking the essential support and medical help you need. 

More and more men and women are opening up about their mental health issues and finding help and comfort in sharing their concerns and feelings. There are a number of alternative options that can offer the support that you need:

  • Mental Health organisations including Mind offer confidential advice online or via their helpline:

    Tel: 0300 123 3393
    Email: info@mind.org.uk
    Text: 86463

  • The NHS has a list of organisations that can help people who may be having suicidal thoughts – it's essential to seek help as soon as possible if you or someone you know are having thoughts about suicide or self harm:

    nhs.uk/conditions/suicide/

  • Call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment, or call 111 out of hours and they can find you the support you need.

  • HealthTech solutions like Mynurva are readily accessible and provide flexible, confidential counselling via a live online video call which can be done from the privacy of your own home, and at whatever time suits you. 

It's important you speak to someone as soon as possible and get the help and support you need, so please don't suffer in silence: you are not alone.  

Having worked as a GP for several years, Dr Zain Sikafi founded Mynurva to improve access to mental health support. Mynurva provides fast access to therapy or counselling, confidentially, securely and discreetly, via its live video platform. There are no waiting rooms, no travelling is required, and the service is confidential, discrete and secure. Find out more at mynurva.com

 

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