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With a staggering 822,000 people reporting work-related stress last year, Stress Awareness Month is a time to reflect on causes and cures for an epidemic that accounts for more than 50% of workplace illnesses.  

The statistics, released by the Health and Safety Executive, show the highest affected industries are those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including health and social care, public administration, and education.

Further statistics show that stress is significantly higher in females. More than 3,500 (per 100,000) aged 25-34 reported concerns, compared to 2,250 in the highest concerned category in men.

While stress isn’t predominately a mental health issue, it’s linked to issues that affect our overall health – both mentally and physically.

Stress Awareness Month takes place every April and is an opportunity for people to get together and recognise the impact that stress has on us.

Amongst the increasing issues, Brighter Futures – a leading provider of community mental health services in Staffordshire – has highlighted the cost-of-living crisis as a cause for concern in the coming months.

Eunice Burke, Operational Manager of the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline, says: “we’re living in tough times that will get even harder.”

“The statistics from the Health and Safety Executives is worrying and there’s a strong chance these will rise in 12-months’ time for reasons beyond any of our control. The concern is evident in our callers. Nearly 3,000 people contacted us in February, alarming numbers.

“Stress isn’t the mental health issue itself. It’s the start of the problem. But it’s very easy for us to get stuck in a rut and consume ourselves. Sometimes it’s hard to spot the signs too, which further increases someone’s risk.”

She adds: “Brighter Futures recommends that everyone makes stress management a habit. Share more time with your friends, do that bit of exercise, prioritise things that make you happy. Looking after yourself makes simple things like making decisions easier and making your life feel less cluttered.”

People struggling with stress, or anything else affecting their wellbeing, can contact the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline for free 24-hours a day.

People can contact via telephone: 0808 800 2234, text message on 07860 022821, email at, and instant message through the Brighter Futures website.

For more information on other services available through Brighter Futures – visit

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