What do you say to help someone with anxiety & depression?

Posted by Craig Finnigan on

When a friend or loved one is suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mental illness, It is hard to say the right things. It is very tempting to say things like:


  • Stop stressing
  • It will be ok
  • Everybody feels down
  • Calm down
  • Just do it
  • It's all in your head

    Individuals may be scared to ask for help so it is important that you spot the signs & symptoms of anxiety or depression. These can be:


    • Feelings of distress or fear
    • Feelings of social awkwardness
    • Agitation and an inability to relax
    • Feeling overwhelmed by intense emotion
    • Outbursts of irritability anger or mood swings
    • Constant negative outlook

      You know the things not to say & you've spotted some of the symptoms. Now it's time to look at what you CAN say & do to try & help. Advice & actions to help someone with anxiety:


      • Try & keep in contact. A friendly text or a quick phone call just asking how things are can let them know they're not alone
      • Talk about what they are going through & listen to them. Don't try to fix them, just listen
      • Highlight the options available to them, visiting a doctor or mental health specialist
      • Provide links to research to help them understand anxiety & to show that you care & believe that they are suffering
      • Encourage them to do things which will be of benefit, exercise, eat healthy, mindfulness exercises
      • Contact a doctor if you feel that they are a danger to themselves or anyone else


      It can be very hard to care for someone with an anxiety disorder or depression. You may feel guilty that you can't help, it may also get you down too. You don't have to help them alone & there are many options & resources available to help you with the process. Here are some useful contacts you can use:

      Mental health charity - http://www.mind.org.uk/

      Help & information - https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/

      NHS self help guides - http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anxiety/Pages/self-help.aspx


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