If you don’t know how to help someone with anxiety, this article will help you understand how you can communicate with the person and get the support you need.
How to Tell if Someone is Anxious
Symptoms of anxiety can manifest themselves in a number of ways: physical, psychological, and behavioral.
If you think someone may be anxious, consider whether their actions and/or behaviors coincide with the following symptoms:
How to Help Someone With Anxiety
If you suspect someone is having a panic attack, Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to follow ALGEE’s action steps:
1. ASSESS for risk of suicide or harm:
To begin with, you will want to identify if they are in crisis. If they experience an extreme level of anxiety, a panic attack, non-suicidal self-harm, or suicidal thoughts, deal with that particular crisis first.
2. LISTEN nonjudgmentally:
If the person is not in a crisis, ask him how he feels and how long he feels that way. If they wonder why you are asking, he explains that you are concerned and what signs you have noticed, but make sure you are not judging.
3. GIVE reassurance and information:
Your support can have a big impact on the person. It will be difficult at times, the person may want to stop seeking help or get frustrated during the process, but if you are kind, sincere, and persistent, you can help convince them.
However, always make sure you are involved in the decision-making process, as treating the person with respect and giving them autonomy is just as important.
4. ENCOURAGE appropriate professional help:
If they seem to need professional help, offer to help the person understand their options for professional help.
General practitioners, mental health professionals, psychiatrists, and certified peer specialists are all options for support with anxiety disorders.
Encourage the person to explore these options, offer help researching the best option, and keep them motivated throughout the process.
5. ENCOURAGE self-help and other support strategies:
Ask them where they can find additional support, from loved ones or trusted communities. Additionally, you can ask if they have tried the following self-help strategies:
- Relaxation training
- Self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy
For more strategies to support people, take mental health first aid. The course will teach you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health or substance use problems. Be part of a movement to change mental health culture.