How to help a friend with panic and anxiety

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Things you can say and do if your friend is dealing with panic and anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are hard to understand. They can make people say and do things differently than they usually would. Remember, you don’t have to understand everything your friend is going through. It’s not your job to make your friend better, but you can help by being there for them.

What should I say?

Here are five things you can say if you know someone who is struggling with anxiety:

  • “Is something on your mind?”
  • “You don’t seem like yourself lately. Do you want to talk?”
  • “Is something worrying you? Can I help?”
  • “What would help you feel better right now?”
  • “Do you want me to go with you to talk to someone?”

What to do if your friend has a panic attack

If your friend is having a panic attack, you can:

  • Find them some help: if there are no adults around, stay with them.
  • Get away from the crowd: tell your friend to take deep breaths.
  • Breathe with them: reassure them that the feeling will pass.