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Is your life or someone else’s life in danger? 

If you have seriously harmed yourself or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or, if you are unable, ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.
Are you experiencing a mental health crisis?

If you need help urgently, but it's not a life-threatening emergency contact the First Response Service (FRS) by dialling 111 and choosing option 2.

Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure.  It is caused by the body releasing adrenaline  and cortisol (often called the “fight or flight” or “stress” hormones).

Everyone feels stressed sometimes.  

Feeling stressed is usually a reaction to some kind of pressure. Examples of things that may cause stress include:

  • Money worries
  • Work issues
  • Relationship problems
  • Illness or injury 
  • Significant life events such as moving house, planning a wedding or having a baby

Sometimes there’s no obvious cause and you might not know why you feel stressed.

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Feeling low or sad
  • Feeling worried, anxious or frightened 
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Struggling to make decisions 
  • Racing thoughts
  • Feeling overwhelmed 

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Stomachache 
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Chest pain
  • Racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Sexual problems 

Stress can also cause behavioural changes:

  • Being snappy or short-tempered
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Avoiding places, people or situations 
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Drinking more alcohol
  • Smoking more

A little stress can actually be a good thing, as it can help us to focus on tasks and get things done.

However, too much stress can interfere with your daily life and affect your relationships.

Feeling stressed over a long period of time can lead to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, sometimes called “burnout”.

Luckily there are things you can try that may help with stress.

Search NHS Better Health “Every Mind Matters”

Here you will find expert advice, practical tips, and plenty of help and support if you’re stressed, anxious, low or struggling to sleep

Identify your triggers

Working out what causes you to feel stressed can help you prepare for it. Even if you can’t avoid stressful situations, being prepared can help. 

Accept the things you can’t change

You won’t always be able to change a stressful situation. Try focusing on the things you do have control over.

Try positive thinking

Positive thinking can help reduce stress. Take some time to think about what is good in your life and list a few things you’re thankful for.

Work smarter, not harder

Prioritise your work. Create a to-do list.  Concentrate on tasks that will make a real difference. Leave the least important tasks to last. Accept that you can’t do everything.

Plan ahead

Plan ahead for stressful events. Plan your journey. List the things you need to take.

Split up big tasks

Breaking a larger task down into easier, more manageable chunks can help you manage and feel less stressed.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside of work. Learning a new language or playing sport can help build confidence and help you deal with stress.

Talk to someone

Trusted friends, family and colleagues, or contacting a helpline, can help us when we are struggling. Check out NHS Better Health’s video on social connection.

Be more active

Being active can help you burn off nervous energy and reduce stress. Our bodies release feel-good hormones when we’re active that can also reduce anxiety and stress.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as ways of coping with stress.  

It’s best to tackle the cause of your stress.

Have some “me time”

Many of us work long hours and have busy lives.  This means we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.  It’s important to take some time for socialising, relaxation and exercise.  Try setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” and do something you enjoy.

Help other people

Evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, often become more resilient. If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day.

Find out more about giving for mental wellbeing.

Shift your focus

Some people find mindfulness and meditation (including breathing exercises and relaxation) help to reduce stress by focussing awareness on the present moment. Try these NHS-recommended relaxation exercises

Try self-help techniques

NHS Better Health’s short videos and practical guides to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you deal with stress by working through problems in new ways and building resilience. Try self-help CBT techniques.

Self Referral 

Everyturn Mental Health and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies are both local services who offer support for people experiencing common mental health problems.

Everyturn Mental Health

Everyturn Mental Health, formerly Insight Healthcare, provide free and confidential talking therapies and counselling to anyone aged 17+ who is registered with a GP in the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area. They offer help to people who are experiencing common mental health problems, such as low mood, depression, anxiety or stress.

0300 555 0888

NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies

This service provides help to people aged 17 and over who are experiencing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders, including: generalised anxiety disorder (GAD); social anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); health anxiety; panic; phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). However, you do not need a diagnosis to access the service and we also see people with problems such as stress, low confidence, sleep disturbance and self-esteem issues. There is no upper age limit for people accessing our service.

0300 300 0055

In a Crisis?

If you have seriously harmed yourself or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or, if you are unable, ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.

First Response Service (FRS)

FRS supports people experiencing a mental health crisis.  It provides 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year access to mental health care, advice and support. By calling 111, and selecting option 2 you will be put through to a member of FRS who will speak to you and discuss your current mental health needs.

Dial 111 and choose option 2


Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call 116 123 for free

How can I help someone else living with anxiety?

There are lots of things you can do to support someone you know who might be struggling with their mental health.

Find out how you can support others, and why it can make a big difference, plus find out what you can do if they need more support.

Other resources: