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Mental Health Support - Anxiety

What is Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like a worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone feels anxious from time to time and it usually passes once the situation is over.

It can make our heart race, we might feel sweaty, shaky or short of breath. Anxiety can also cause changes in our behaviour, such as becoming overly careful or avoiding things that trigger anxiety.

When anxiety becomes a problem, our worries can be out of proportion with relatively harmless situations. It can feel more intense or overwhelming, and interfere with our everyday lives and relationships.

The tips on this page should help you manage feelings of anxiety. But if your anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you could consider seeking further suppor

Signs & Symptoms 
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Having difficulty controlling worry

  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety


The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.


Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety.


Several types of medications are used to help relieve symptoms, depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have and whether you also have other mental or physical health issues. For example:

  • Certain antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders.

  • An anti-anxiety medication called buspirone may be prescribed.

Self - Help 
  • Try a book or online course

  • Exercise regularly

  • Learn to relax

  • Avoid caffeine

  • Avoid smoking and drinking

Support Groups 

Support groups can give you advice on how to manage your anxiety.

They're also a good way to meet other people with similar experiences.

Examples of support groups you may find useful include:

Support groups can often arrange face-to-face meetings, where you can talk about your difficulties and problems with other people.

Many support groups also provide support and guidance over the phone or in writing.

Ask your GP about local support groups for anxiety in your area, or search online for mental health information and support services near you.

Find out More: 

Find a psychological therapies service (England only)

NHS - England link

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm)


Find out More: 
Emergency Action plan:

Carry out a primary survey

  1. Calm the Person

  2. Ask the person what you can do to help.

  3. Reassure the person that the attack will probably pass in a few minutes.

  4. Encourage the person to take slow, even breaths.

  5. Do not minimize the person's symptoms.

  6. If they've had a panic attack before, ask them what helped them through it.

  7. If unable to calm the person, take him or her to see a health care provider right away.

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