Addressing common mental health problems

Steps for Stress

Steps for Stress is a resource which aims to help people recognise the early signs of everyday stress, and offers advice and information on how to take action to help stop it in its tracks - such as being more active, talking to someone or helping other people

The booklet is supported by a website that has additional content and links  and a relaxation CD is also available, and since 2009 more than 420,000 copies of the booklet and almost 970,000 CDs have been distributed.  

A mental health strategy for Scotland states that over the period of 2012 - 2015,  NHS Health Scotland will work with the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector to ensure staff are confident to use Steps for Stress as an early intervention approach to address common mental health problems.

For further information on Steps for Stress or to order these resources please visit the Steps for Stress website [ external site]

Self-help Approaches

Some feelings of stress, anxiety and depression may be relieved by the use of relaxation techniques and exercise. Progressive relaxation training is helpful in relieving panic feelings and can help people to gain some control over what is happening to them. Yoga, Tai Chi and other exercises are also believed to be beneficial. The key is in finding the approach which helps each person. For some people, relaxation is best found by taking part in physical activities, such as running, walking or gardening, rather than by relaxation.

Access to psychological interventions

Psychological interventions include formal approaches and guided self-help. CBT in particular has been found to be very effective in treating common mental health problems. CBT is based on the idea that negative thinking results in negative reactions. It involves assessing the reasoning behind a person’s thinking, and then gradually exposing them to the situation that causes stress or anxiety in order to change behavior and boost self-confidence.

For more information on guided self help, visit the Living Life website