Anxiety is a natural response to stress, and in normal circumstances it can help us to respond better to difficult physical or social situations. But for Mental Health Awareness Week (12 – 18 May), NHS talking therapies service Healthy Minds and the public health team at Buckinghamshire County Council are highlighting the problems that can arise when anxiety gets out of hand.

We all have different tolerance levels for anxiety: what begins as a normal, everyday response can sometimes develop into something more serious, such as a panic, phobia, or obsessional disorder. Such anxiety disorders can severely affect people’s lives, taking away the ability to sleep properly, to focus at work or school, to enjoy everyday activities, or even to leave the house.

In 2010, 8.2 million people in the UK were diagnosed with anxiety disorders[1], making them one of the leading causes of mental ill health, with roughly 1 in 20 adults affected. And anxiety doesn’t just affect adults: in Buckinghamshire, a recent survey in schools showed that more than 1 in 10 young people experience feelings of anxiety or depression most days.

Buckinghamshire’s Director of Public Health Jane O’Grady said: “Modern lifestyles can be very stressful, with levels of anxiety that can build up until they interfere with everyday living, and sometimes lead to severe problems.

“However, there’s a lot that can be done to help prevent or manage anxiety and to stop it affecting your life, ranging from simple lifestyle measures such as regular physical activity, to learning strategies that can help you tackle the situations that are triggering anxiety and stress.

Dr John Pimm, clinical lead for Buckinghamshire Healthy Minds, added: “Buckinghamshire Healthy Minds is the local NHS service which provides free, fast and effective help for adults with anxiety, stress and depression. Healthy Minds offers a range of evidence-based talking therapies, employment advice and practical support.

“If you’d like further help or advice on coping with anxiety, speak to your GP or contact Buckinghamshire Healthy Minds. You can self refer to Buckinghamshire Healthy Minds by phoning 0844 225 2400, emailing or texting ‘talk’ and your name to 07798 667169. Alternatively, visit

“Buckinghamshire County Council has also recently commissioned Time to Talk Bucks, a free confidential counselling service for young people aged 11-25. The service offers counselling in schools and community settings to give young people with mental health issues or concerns (including anxiety) a safe place to receive appropriate support.

If a young person or parent would like to speak to a member of the Time to Talk Bucks team about anxiety or anything else that is worrying them they can call confidentially on 0845 408 5022 or 07764 210398.

Further notes

Healthy Minds Bucks is operated by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. The service is available either via a GP or by direct self-referral. For individuals to arrange an appointment to discuss mental health issues with Healthy Minds Bucks, there is a self-referral form that should be emailed back to

Alternatively, to arrange an appointment or ask a question, people should:

  • Telephone 0844 225 2400. Calls are charged at the local rate, call from mobiles may cost more. Lines are open from 7am to 5:30pm Monday to Thursday and 7am – 4:30pm on a Friday.
  •  Text TALK <your name> to 07798 667169, for a return phone call.
  • Email 

The Time to Talk Bucks service is delivered by three charities active in Buckinghamshire: Way In, the Youth Enquiry Service and Connexions Buckinghamshire. The service can be contacted confidentially on 0845 408 5022 or 07764 210398.

Mental Health Awareness Week is a campaign managed by the Mental Health Foundation charity since 2000. Each year, the campaign focuses on a different aspect of mental health and wellbeing.


[1] Fineberg NA et al. The size, burden and cost of disorders of the brain in the UK. Journal of

Psychopharmacology 2013.