Thousands seek help as anxiety cases soar

By Ian Dipple Thursday 15 May 2014 Updated: 19/05 10:30

MORE than 9,000 people across Redditch will have some form of mental health problem by the end of the decade.

Official estimates, released to the Standard as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, show there will be close to 300 more people living with generalised anxiety or a mixed anxiety and depressive disorder in the borough by 2020. By the same date there will be more than 60,000 people in Worcestershire living with such conditions, with anxiety and depression making up the majority. However the Mental Health Foundation believes the actual figure is much higher as mental health issues remain under reported.

Worcestershire Health and Care Trust's Primary Care Mental Health Service dealt with about 9,000 referrals in 2013/14 compared to 6,700 three years ago. Another 3,600 people were referred in the last financial year for psychological therapies.

It is estimated about half of referrals were for the treatment of anxiety - a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, but it can also arise from something happening currently. Part of the increase has been attributed to making the service available to more GP surgeries but doctors also report more people are seeking support to cope with every day life.

A survey by the Mental Health Foundation found money or debt, working long hours and concern over the welfare of children or loved ones affected people's state of mind.

While being anxious in certain situations is normal, if anxiety starts to impact on everyday life it can cause long-term issues.

Signs include dizziness, trouble sleeping, a lack of concentration, feeling irritable or experiencing a loss of self-confidence.

Mark Dickens, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust’s lead for adult mental health, said: "Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point. It is normal to experience anxiety in everyday situations, however persistent and excessive anxiety can cause more serious mental health problems."

Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the UK and in some cases it can take over people’s lives. One in four people experience mental health problems throughout their lives but don’t always know where to turn. If you feel you are suffering from anxiety that is significantly affecting your quality of life, visit your GP, who will be able to offer you the help you need."

Visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk or www.redditchmhag.blogspot.co.uk for information about services and help available. MHAG chair Harriet Ernstsons has also posted her story about life living with anxiety.

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