Mental Health & Wellbeing FAQs & Resources

As a leading provider of HR Compliance eLearning, our experts are often asked about Mental Health & Wellbeing. We've collected all of those questions and answered them for you below...

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Mental Health & Wellbeing FAQs

What is a mental illness?

A mental illness is defined as a disorder which causes irrationality in someone's behaviour or thinking. Mental illness can refer to a large range of mental conditions that people can suffer from, sometimes more than one at a time.

What is a wellbeing toolkit?

A wellbeing toolkit can help you look after your mental health on a daily basis. Some of the things that you should include in your wellbeing toolkit are:

  • Remember you are only human and sometimes bad things happen
  • Sometimes our brain doesn't know what is real and what isn't so when we are getting stressed about thoughts, our brain can think that is what is actually happening. So try to remind yourself it isn't happening.
  • Try to swap negative thoughts for positive - make it into a new habit
  • Eat well, exercise well and sleep well
  • Set goals for yourself, some outside of your comfort zone to try and push yourself that little bit further
  • Remember to take a minute to breathe
  • If you are an employer, put in a wellness Action Plan at work. To see how your staff feel about their mental health and what can be done to improve it.

Who can I talk to about mental health?

You could talk to your GP, the Samaritans, online chat services, a friend/family member that you can trust or a Mental Health First Aider at work.

What causes a mental illness?

There is a vast multitude of things that could cause ill-mental health. Sometimes it will be more than just one cause. And different people will be affected differently by the same cause. Some of the factors listed below could result in poor mental health but this list is not exhaustive:

  • Childhood or adulthood abuse, trauma or neglect
  • Social loneliness, disadvantage or poverty
  • Violence, bullying or other abuse
  • Trauma like military combat, or experiencing something where you feared for your life
  • Homelessness
  • Long-term stress
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Bereavement
  • Physical damage

What kind of treatment is there for mental health?

The 2 most common treatments for mental health are medication or talking treatments, but there are many other options available.

Talking treatments are often with a trained professional where you speak about specific problems or memories, sometimes working towards improving relationships with others. Speaking with a professional can help you to:

  • Deal with a specific problem 
  • Cope with upsetting memories or experiences 
  • Improve relationships 
  • Develop more helpful ways of living day-to-day

The most common form of talking therapy is 'Cognitive Behavioural Therapy' or 'CBT'. CBT is a relatively short-term treatment that aims to identify connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and to help you develop practical skills to manage any negative patterns that may be causing you difficulties.

Medication treatments aim to treat the symptoms of the mental illness but not so much curing the source of the problem. They might include sleeping pills, antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilisers.

What can I do if I am worried about a friend or relative?

You should try and encourage them to get some help or advice, initially from a GP. Unfortunately, your friend/relative might not want to see the GP as they might not think they are unwell or think that the GP will not be able to help them. Try to do your best to put yourself in your friend/relatives shoes and understand how they feel. Try and always bring the topic up at the right time when you are both calm and remember to be patient.

You could offer to go with them to a GP or offer some suggestions as to why they are feeling/acting this way. Ensure that they know that anything you tell them you will keep private and that they have your trust.

How can I make my staff feel more comfortable talking about mental health or coming forward with an issue?

Make mental health a well-spoken about a topic in your business so people feel like there isn't such a stigma surrounding it if they are experiencing ill mental health. Workplaces should also have a Mental Health at Work Plan, to highlight good mental health of all employees and demonstrate the support that is available for those who need it.

Managers and supervisors should also be leading by example and openly talking about mental health to all of their staff. Providing good working conditions and making reasonable adjustments for staff can aim to prevent ill mental health to by looking to reduce things like stress in the workplace.  

How many people experience mental health problems each year?

Sadly, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in the UK each year. It’s much more of a common problem than people think.

Stress Awareness FAQs

What is internal and external stress?

There are two different types of stress - external and internal stress. External stress comes from things outside of our bodies, things like our job, noise, injury, toxins, bacteria, relationships, situations and our physical environment. Internal stress comes from inside our bodies and can determine how the body responds to the external stress we experience. Examples of internal stress are: feelings, imagination or anticipation, memory, general health and nutritional status, emotional health and the amount of sleep you get.

Managing stress will relate to how you can confront the external stress or change your internal factors and change how you deal with stress.

What is the difference between stress and pressure?

Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D., a world-renowned psychologist defines the difference between stress and pressure as the following:

Stress - can refer to a situation and the demands and resources it requires to meet the demands.

Pressure - is the way you perceive a situation about how your performance can depend on the outcome.

As an employer do I need to do anything about stress in the workplace?

Employers have a responsibility to look after the health and safety of their employees, stress comes under this bracket. As an employer, you need to ensure that staff are not experiencing stress so much so that it is impacting their health and their life outside of work. Support should be provided if someone is unhappy at work, some workplaces have started to implement Mental Health First Aiders so that people can talk to someone if they are stressed. Workplaces should aim to take away the stigma around things like stress and Mental Health and talk openly about them in the workplace.

What can stress do to the body?

Stress affects the body more than people realise. Just some of the ways that it impacts body are:

  • Headaches
  • Low sex drive
  • Increase heart rate
  • Heartburn
  • Risk of heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Fertility issues
  • Missed periods
  • Weakened immune system
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Tense muscles

What are the symptoms of stress?

As well as the effects that it can have on your body, there are also many other symptoms of stress. Stress might make you feel:

  • Upset, aggressive, impatient
  • Anxious or nervous
  • Sense of dread
  • Neglected or lonely
  • Uninterested in things that you usually would be
  • Unable to enjoy things you normally would
  • Thoughts racing and consuming your attention

Stress can also impact your behaviour by:

  • Constantly worrying
  • Avoiding things
  • Snapping at people
  • Increase in smoking or drinking
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Feeling tearful
  • Biting nails or picking skin

How can you prevent stress?

Stress is not always avoidable, but there changes that you can make or things you can do to prevent getting stressed. Some things you can try to combat stress are:

  • Make sure to exercise - exercise can be an outlet and stress reliever to some.
  • Accept things you can't change - don’t let things you have no control over affect you so much
  • Positivity - be grateful for the positive things, and focus on them.
  • Connections - having a good support network can help you with and share your troubles.
  • Challenge - set yourself goals and challenges to build yourself with confidence and challenge yourself.
  • Avoid unhealthy habits - don't overload your life with unhealthy habits like bad food, smoking and drinking
  • Me time - make time for yourself to relax and do the things you enjoy
  • Help others - doing things outside of work like volunteering schemes to help others can be really rewarding
  • Get enough rest - lack of sleep can be detrimental to stress

What is work-related stress?

Work related stress is dealing with an excess of demands in the workplace that exceed your ability to cope. You can experience both the mental and physical effects of it.

Can your heart be affected by stress?

There is no evidence to suggest that stress can directly cause heart disease or heart attacks. However, stress can increase things like heart rate and pressure so it could cause things like angina and it could affect already existing heart conditions.

Can medicine help stress?

While non-medical therapies are often advised before medical, there are medications that can be taken in relation to stress but there is not specifically one medication for stress. You might be offered:

  • Sleeping pills if you are struggling sleeping due to stress
  • Antidepressants if you are experiencing depression or anxiety with stress
  • Medications that might treat symptoms of stress like high blood pressure.

How can I relieve stress?

  • Meditation
  • Take 5 minutes to focus on your breathing.
  • Talk to friends/family whoever it might be to help you destress
  • Me time. Take an evening a week to do something you love.
  • Laughing therapies
  • Music - some people like music to destress
  • Pets - pet therapies have been found to reduce stress.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Gardening
  • Aromatherapy

What is fight or flight?

Fight or flight is the psychological response to how we respond to stressful situations. Your body releases hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with the situation or leave it. The saying derives from our ancestors about when they faced danger or threats in their environment and whether they would fight or flee, e.g. taking it back to prehistoric times, if a caveman was threatened by a predator, they would either fight and defend their home or flee for safety.

The chemical reaction of fight or flight works like this… the sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands. This releases catecholamines including adrenaline and noradrenaline. An increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing then follows, prepping for fight or flight.

Managing Anxiety FAQs

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, and the symptoms range from mild to severe. Despite what many people may think, anxiety is perfectly natural and it’s experienced by all of us at some point in our lives - particularly before interviews, medical treatment, and significant life events. But some people experience frequent or severe anxiety, which affects their daily life.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, known as CBT, is a scientifically tested and verified talking therapy that’s very effective to use in general day-to-day life to improve and maintain good mental health. It’s a practical problem-solving approach to overcoming emotional problems and is goal-orientated.

How common is anxiety?

As we said above, anxiety is perfectly natural and it’s experienced by all of us at some point in our lives, but some people experience frequent or severe anxiety which affects their daily life.

  • In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of diagnosed anxiety in the UK.
  • In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
  • The one-week prevalence of generalised anxiety in England is 6.6%


In any given week in England, the following are experienced:

  • Mixed anxiety and depression: 8 in 100 people
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): 6 in 100 people


  • 7.2% of 5-19 year olds experience an anxiety condition
  • In 2017, 3.9% of 5-10 year old children had an anxiety disorder, as did 7.5% of 11-16 year olds and 13.1% of 17-19 year olds

(MHFA England)

What is GAD (generalised anxiety disorder)?

Anxiety UK define GAD as “the feeling of being anxious about almost everything for no apparent reason. If you’re affected by GAD, you’ll often feel unduly worried about a wide variety of issues (such as health, money, work, school and relationships) rather than one specific problem.” 

I’m experiencing a lot of anxious feelings, what should I do?

While some feelings of anxiety can be normal you should see a GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress. Your GP will then discuss with you your symptoms, worries, fears and emotions.

FAQs regarding our Mental Health Awareness course

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for all employees and we also offer a course for management to know what they should look out for in their staff. All employees should know about and value their mental health just like their physical health.

How long does the course take?

The Mental Health Awareness Training takes 40 minutes to complete, our Mental Health in Construction Training training is 40 minutes long and our Mental Health Awareness Training for Managers course is 50 minutes long.

What approvals does this course have?

Our mental health awareness course is CPD Accredited and IOSH Approved.

What devices is this course available from?

Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when training needs to be refreshed. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.

FAQs regarding our Stress Awareness course

How long is this course?

This course takes 30 minutes to complete including the multiple choice test at the end.

What approvals does this course have?

This course is CPD Accredited and IOSH Approved.

What devices is this course available from?

Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when training needs to be refreshed. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.

Why is this training important?

Stress awareness training is important because anyone can experience stress and often it goes unnoticed. Learning how to recognise signs of stress and know how to treat stress is useful for everyone. The course also looks at what can be done to prevent and reduce stress.

FAQs regarding our Managing Anxiety course

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for all levels of employees, this includes all management and employers too as we will all experience anxiety at some point in our lives - some just experience it more than others. All employees should know about and value their mental health just like their physical health. 

How long does the course take?

Our Managing Anxiety Training takes 28 minutes to complete.

What approvals does this course have?

Our Managing Anxiety Training is CPD Accredited. 

What devices is this course available from?

Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when the expiry date is set on the certificates. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year. 

Documents and resources

  • Mental Health Wellbeing Guide

    iHASCO have created this document to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing. It can either be used as a starting point, or it can be used by those who are already managing their wellbeing who would like more information.

  • Wellness Action Plan

    This Wellness Action Plan (WAP) is a fantastic way for you to note down what you need to stay mentally well at work. Once you’ve filled it out, keep it close to hand to use whenever you need to; it’s a useful tool when you’re feeling stressed or start to experience poor mental health.

  • Signs of Mental Ill-health in Children

    For those working with children, it is key to know what the signs of mental ill-health are. Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. Here is what you should look out for in a child who might need your help…

  • The Anxiety Ladder

    Use our Anxiety Ladder to help ease any anxieties you may have. Start small, and work your way up the ladder by working on improving one situation at a time!

  • The 4D's

    The 4 D’s of prioritising your to-do list - a poster for your workplace.

  • Stress Busting Tools

    Our top tips for stress-busting!

  • Our Breathing Tool

    Sometimes, it’s just about knowing when to stop and take a break. We’re always so busy, and our mental wellbeing seems to be what’s sacrificed when we’re running low on time.

  • Signs of Stress

    This sneak peek Stress Awareness Course video demonstrates some of the three key changes we should look out for that may indicate stress - emotional, behavioural and physical.

  • PIP - Pause, Identify and Prioritise

    If you ever feel like you’re sinking - it’s time for PIP. Pause, Identify the problem, and Prioritise. If you need to relieve some of the pressure, keep this easy acronym in mind.

  • Anxiety Related Conditions

    Here is some information about some common anxiety-related conditions and how they can be approached and managed.

  • Tips to Reducing Anxiety

    We’ve listed some tips for you to explore which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. We recommend that you take a look in your spare time when you can move at your own pace.

  • Managing Anxiety with Lavender

    The famous relaxing effects of lavender are real and could even be used medically to treat anxiety, new research suggests. Why not have a go at creating your own calming elephant?

  • Citation - Employee Assistance Programme

    You can help support your employees mental health and wellbeing by signing up to an Employee Assistance Programme. Find out more about Citation’s EAP…

  • ISO 45003 & wellbeing at work white paper

    This white paper has been created to help employers understand the benefits of positive psychological health in the workplace, learn more about the new ISO 45003 guidance, as well as how to better support employee wellbeing.

Mental ill-health in UK workplaces

This comprehensive resource will provide you with practical advice & information surrounding workplace mental health.

  • Understand the impact of mental ill-health in the workplace
  • Understand how you can improve workplace wellbeing
  • Discover mental health and wellbeing tips for your employees
  • Gain a better understanding of workplace stress & anxiety
  • Take a closer look at mental health in various industry sectors, including care and education

Mental Health White Paper

Additional resources

Top tips for preventing employee burnout

Knowing how to prevent your employees from burning out can be challenging, especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Together with the experts at Citation we’ve created a free checklist with our top tips and best practise measures to preventing employee burnout.

Made in Partnership with Citation

Mental health podcast for employers

In this podcast our panel of experts look at top tips to support mental health in the workplace, from how to spot mental ill-health symptoms to building a 'mental health friendly' workplace.

This podcast is pre-recorded for your convenience so tune in on the go or block out a suitable time in your day to listen!

Made in Partnership with Citation

Managing employee wellbeing

As an employer, you have a responsibility to look after the wellbeing of your employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new set of risks to the wellbeing of employees. From blurring the work/life balance, to financial uncertainty, employers may have to support their people in ways they’ve not experienced before.

Made in Partnership with Citation

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