Mental Health Awareness Week: anxiety

Author: Marwah El-Murad of the Mental Health Foundation
Published: 13/04/2023

What might cause anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events. We can also get anxious when it comes to money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our home or buying food. 

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face. In a recent mental health survey we carried out around stress, anxiety, and hopelessness over personal finances, a quarter of adults said they felt so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time. The Teacher Wellbeing Index 2022 found that 44% of education staff experienced symptoms of anxiety, compared to 37% of the general public. It also found that 75% of staff are stressed, with 59% of staff not confident in disclosing unmanageable stress or mental health issues to their employer.

Your mental health

Working within education settings, you play a crucial part in not only supporting children and young people through their education but supporting their emotional and social development as well. As such, often your mental health can be overlooked. For some, it can feel difficult to seek support at work when experiencing mental health-related issues such as anxiety. 

But you are not alone! 50% of staff who spoke to someone at work about their mental health problems said it gave them perspective and helped them realise they are not alone. Dealing with anxiety can be hard. But there are some things we can do to manage these tough feelings:

  1. Focus on your breathing
  2. Get moving
  3. Keep a diary
  4. Challenge your thoughts
  5. Get support for money worries
  6. Spend time in nature
  7. Connect with people and talk about how you feel
  8. Try to get some quality sleep or rest: Check out our Rethinking Rest Guide
  9. Try to eat a healthy diet

Focusing on anxiety for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, we hope to increase people's awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. At the same time, we will keep up the pressure to demand change - making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.

Find resources to support teachers' wellbeing here. See also our student mental health collection and our resources to support children's mental health and wellbeing.

Marwah El-Murad of the Mental Health Foundation

Marwah is the Universal Programme Manager (Families, Children and Young People) at the Mental Health Foundation, the UK's leading charity for everyone's mental health.