MAY was Mental Health Awareness month.

This year’s theme was anxiety. Though anxiety is a normal emotion to experience throughout life, there are certain scenarios when it can become problematic, and cross the line into becoming a mental health problem.

According to Mind, six in every 100 people are diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder every week. However, this is unlikely to be an accurate representation of incidences of anxiety, as experts believe that those experiencing chronic anxiety every day are likely to be an under-reported group.

Furthermore, of those who do report their anxiety symptoms, only 50 per cent will receive specialist help to alleviate their symptoms.

This means that there are likely to be people across the country, including in Barnsley, who are struggling to cope with everyday life due to their anxiety symptoms.

It is good news that the stigma that has been associated with speaking about mental health generally is slowly but surely reducing as people feel more comfortable to discuss their conditions and experiences.

It is thought that there are multiple factors that contribute to prevalence of anxiety specifically, including biological vulnerabilities, financial pressures, job stresses, and drugs and alcohol dependency.

There has been an increase in both men and women seeking help with their anxiety symptoms over the past ten years, which is indeed positive.

Other factors such as the coronavirus pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have also had a significant impact on the development of mental health issues and the resurgence of existing conditions.

Mind report that 39 per cent of people report that their mental health got worse during the pandemic.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy report that 66 per cent of therapists say that the cost-of-living crisis is causing a decline in mental health.

People need to be sure that the support they need can be accessed when they need it, however, this is unfortunately not the case at the moment.

Since 2010, successive austerity measures implemented by Conservative-led governments have cost the UK half a trillion pounds in public spending.

Pressure on NHS generally is huge, and unfortunately the rise in demand means that other services, such as the police, school staff, and charities, do not have the capacity to pick up the slack, as they face increased pressure in their respective industries too.

The next Labour government will prioritise a truly preventative plan for mental health services and will put patient care first. We have a plan to ensure mental health support is available in every school and that there are community hubs in which people can access the services they need close to them.

Crucially, we would recruit thousands more mental health staff to ensure treatment can be accessed within a month.

In the meantime, there is help available if you are experiencing anxiety. Visit Mind UK’s website at or call them on 0300 123 3393.

The Mental Health Foundation can also provide more information on anxiety and provide help. Visit them at