NHS Launches National Stress Helpline in England

In England, as with most parts of the world, stress has taken a decidedly central role in the lives of millions of people, and recent turmoil within the financial markets has created substantial sources of worry and emotional difficulty among the population. As the New Year approaches, many are likely to focus their resolutions on handling debt-related issues, though efforts to promote a greater sense of inner peace and well-being may be less popular. England’s residents now have an option to incorporate better mental health into their fight against financial woes, thanks to a newly-launched helpline operated by the National Health Service called the “Stressline.”

The phone line has already helped several people reach a more manageable state and has directed at least fifty percent of callers to local resources for psychotherapy and other forms of treatment that can help financial and other worries become workable challenges rather than threatening obstacles. The line expects to experience considerable traffic through the holidays and at the beginning of the year as residents take a close look at their finances and attempt to make positive changes to rise out of debt, which is estimated at about ten thousand pounds per household, excluding mortgages.

Operated by mental health professionals including therapists and counselors, the line takes a serious approach to crisis intervention and the promotion of rational, beneficial thinking, and is available to residents from eight in the morning until ten in the evening each day. While many calls produce positive results for those in need on the spot, direction to mental health and financial support is likely to prove an invaluable feature. The success of the line may help inspire other nations to adopt similar services for stressed residents.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • cody


    January 1st, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    Stress sure is taking a toll on most of us in this faced-paced world, with everybody trying to catc up on life but it always seems to be running with even more speed…help in this regard is always welcome.

  • Marlon Sameuls

    Marlon Sameuls

    January 1st, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    It is so good to talk to someone when you feel stressed and burnt out… to have someone calming you down and telling you that it is not the end of the road and that you can manage to relax and take the situation head-on… We need to make sure that stress does not get the better of us, at any cost.

  • Sharmen


    January 1st, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Having professions who are trained to handle stressed people on the phone and prevent them from taking possibly erractic steps are the need in such a service. Nevertheless, it is a great way to readdress the growing need of professional hlp as the stress levels are only heading northwards.

  • natalie


    January 2nd, 2010 at 5:23 AM

    This is a step in the right direction and I am sure it will be followed by a lot of other countries as well. Stress is poised to become a very common problem in the years and decades to come, according to a lot of studies.

  • Diane


    January 2nd, 2010 at 7:02 AM

    I like the fact that these are people you can talk to who will not only maintain your privacy but who will be totally objective and just listen. Sometimes that is all we need anyway.

  • Fletcher


    January 2nd, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    True, Diane. The British in my experience sadly aren’t as comfortable with seeing a mental health professional as Americans are. Being in therapy, on that side of the world, isn’t discussed as casually and openly by clients. That’s a real disadvantage. To be made to feel it’s not up for discussion, however unintentionally, by family or friends doesn’t make them feel any better about themselves.

  • Rosalee


    January 2nd, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    I found out yesterday that my husband’s lost 5 hours a week at work from now on. Happy New Year to us. :( I guess that’s no major disaster to most folks. Trust me, it’s a crisis. He’s the sole breadwinner and we scrape by living from paycheck to paycheck. That’s real stress that rich folks can’t imagine. I wish we had a helpline like that. He’s so stressed we can’t talk about it without fighting.

  • Joan


    January 2nd, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    It’s no coincidence that being in debt is linked with depression. I’ve never been so ill with stress as I was when I took on a mortgage that was only just within my means. I was lucky to not suffer a job loss as well. After a year of worrying myself sick in case that happened, I sold up and moved to a more modest home that was half the payment my previous one was. Gradually I got better after I got help in handling both my mental health and financial struggles. It’s crazy to stretch yourself so thin! I’ll never do that again.

  • Dr. Notary

    Dr. Notary

    January 2nd, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    I’m very sorry to hear that, Rosalee. I hope it will be only a temporary blip on your New Year radar and your New Year will improve soon. Remember, this too shall pass.

  • Elizabeth R.

    Elizabeth R.

    January 2nd, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    I’m terribly low at New Year the older I get. I reflect on the year that’s gone by and can see nothing in my life has changed or moved forward. It takes me a few weeks to get into an optimistic frame of mind for the year ahead. I’m terrified I’m wasting my life and can’t do anything about getting past this. I’m a veteran of this and wait it out because the same reaction happens year in, year out.

  • frank


    January 3rd, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Its a very good move this…stress is taking a lot of down and it is ideal to have a stress helpline to support those having it and unable to manage it… stress affects all of us and they may soon need to upgrade the staff there.

  • Sally


    January 4th, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Yes- I really like the idea that this is getting support on a national level. But what always scares me the most about services like this is that there are those who really do need one on one extensive help and will never be able to make it beyond this first step. I hope that the people running these phone lines will have the wherewithall to get people who need extra services and help to the right facilities to help them to take care of their problems which cannot be managed online or on the phone.

  • Ben


    January 4th, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    There are a lot of people who are going through stress and because there are not many professionals dealing with this, they just have a chat about it with their friends or family. While this is good, it may not compltely solve the problem for them and professional help seems like an ideal thing to introduce to be more accesible to people.

  • derek adams

    derek adams

    January 4th, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    A good beginning I’d say…but they may soon have to make it a 24X7 helpline… stress odoesn’t see the time, you know ;)

  • minson


    January 4th, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    We should take a cue from England and start off stress helplines in a big way… it could be a seperate section in 911…maybe…or maybe a dedicated helpline altogether. Whatever the approach,a helpline on stress is much needed because almost everybody is suffering from stress, young or old…

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