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Every April, Stress Awareness Month is held to increase public awareness about the causes of stress and how to help combat it.

Stress is one of the most common reasons people contact Shout. In 2023, we estimate that Shout Volunteers took more than 178,000 conversations with around 96,700 stressed texters. Demand for support is highest between 7-10pm, suggesting people are unable to relax and are worrying into the evening and nighttime.

People who contact Shout about stress commonly describe feeling overwhelmed and agitated. They also often experience physical symptoms such as low energy, changes in appetite, insomnia or an inability to focus. While the majority (61%) of texters are under 25, stress affects texters of all ages, from 13 or under to over 65 years old.

Causes of stress

School is often the main cause of stress and worry in Shout texters under the age of 18. Stressors include homework deadlines, exams, uncertainty (such as of a new school year or changing schools), difficulty with peer relationships and experiences of bullying and intimidation.

In young adults (18-24 years), relationship difficulties, financial and work stress are common triggers. Among the issues discussed, texters described unhappy or unhealthy relationships, financial uncertainty, excessive workloads and job insecurity.


A common theme in conversations about stress is perceived lack of support. Many texters spoke about a lack of empathy and understanding from their social networks, while others had no one to turn to or were hesitant to open up, due to a fear of being judged.

Without adequate support, texters struggled to cope. They referenced feeling lonely, sad and suicidal, with many using maladaptive coping strategies such as self-harm and substance misuse.

Research shows that strong social support is an important protective factor for dealing with life’s difficulties, and bolsters resilience in stressful situations1. Talking through problems with emotionally supportive and empathetic connections reduces psychological distress, improves self-esteem and offers people a sense of autonomy that can help them feel able to cope with stressful events.


At Shout, our trained volunteers listen with empathy and understanding, guiding texters to a calmer frame of mind while empowering them to manage future issues themselves. Of the texters who contacted Shout for support about stress or worry, 85% rated the service as helpful. Learn more about how Shout works at

References: Løseth, G. E., Eikemo, M., Trøstheim, M., Meier, I. M., Bjørnstad, H., Asratian, A., ... & Leknes, S. (2022). Stress recovery with social support: A dyadic stress and support task. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 146, 105949.

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