Wednesday 4th November was National Stress Awareness Day and, to mark the occasion, psychologist Dr Rick Norris launched a campaign to lobby for change in the education system to deal with root cause of rising mental health problems.


With as many as one in four people suffering from stress, anxiety or depression in the UK, estimates that the cost of dealing with depression is as much as £9bn per year. According to Dr Norris: “We need to tackle the root causes of stress, anxiety and depression instead of throwing money at curing the symptoms.”


“We do not do enough in this country to develop people’s self-esteem or to teach them how to think more positively,” he added. “This is highlighted by each successive generation demonstrating more and more threat-sensitive behaviours. Yet self-esteem is fundamental in good mental health. Self-doubt lies at the root of much of our psychological distress. We need to break the negative thinking cycle as early as possible to make a positive impact on the rising cost of mental health in Britain. Poor mental health doesn’t just impact the health service, it also affects many other aspects of society such as sickness absence rates at work and the breakdown of relationships.”


Dr Norris is now working with a primary care trust (PCT) in the Midlands to improve the emotional health of schoolchildren in the area. The PCT will offer coaching by Dr Norris and his partner at Mind Health Development, Glyn Morris, to children who could benefit from improved self-esteem. Dr Norris would like to see programmes like this rolled out throughout the country.


Some of the facts about Mental Health in Britain include:

  • A report earlier this year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development  found that workplace ‘stress’ is now the second-biggest occupational health problem in the UK after musculoskeletal conditions and ‘depression’ is the fourth most significant cause of suffering and disability after heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents. Apparently, by 2020, depression will rank second, behind heart disease as the most common cause of death
  • Stress in the workplace is frequently cited as the number one issue affecting employee productivity and, in 2005/2006, work-related stress, depression and anxiety cost Great Britain in excess of £530m.
  • Some 33% of people are so stressed they have dreamed of quitting for a life abroad.
  • Half of the British workforce is feeling more stressed than at the same time last year (according to a recent survey by YouGov for the legal publisher Croner).


Comment: If you happen to think that stress is getting the better of you, a new book – with a hypnosis CD – could come to your rescue. ‘The Stress Less Mind’ (Georgia Foster Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-0-9560132-3-1; £12.99) offers a ‘daily survival guide to staying on top of your life’. The book incorporates Jungian Psychology Voice Dialogue Theory with hypnosis. If you think that this sounds the sort of thing for you – then you should know that you’ll have to wait until February 2010 to get a copy of the book. Now, is knowing that stressful, or what?