How to help a friend with anxiety


As someone who suffers from anxiety, I know it’s hard to share your experience with others, but it’s not something you can battle on your own. While having caring friends is important for your wellbeing, sometimes even the most dedicated of them don’t have the tools to offer support. Here are some suggestions I have to help you guide others through this tough time. 


DO check-in: Oftentimes, one might feel alone because they feel that they have no one to talk to. Be there for your friends. Tell them that you are always just one call away. This can be extremely comforting and reassures them that they are not alone. Shooting them a nice text, or randomly calling them to check in can show that you are there for them, even if they don’t respond. 


DO be empathetic: Try to understand how they are feeling, but keep in mind that you will never know exactly what is going on in their head. This is going to consist of 3 simple questions:

  • How are you feeling? Create a space in which they will feel comfortable to open up to you. And most importantly, make it clear that you are here to listen. No judgment allowed. Ask them to elaborate on their answer. 
  • Why are you feeling that way? While many times anxiety can present itself during random times, for no reason, there are also certain triggers that can cause these emotions. Help your friend identify them, and check yourself to make sure you aren’t sparking any of the triggers.
  • What can I do to help? There might be nothing to do. Your friend might just need to recover on their own, or with higher professional help. But still, be there as a support system. Whether it is to just listen, to give advice, to help connect them with professionals, or to even confront their feelings, you need to be there. 


DO reach out to professionals if needed: If you think that the help your friend needs is beyond your reach, ask them if you can help them get professional help. Although you may think your advice is pretty good, you aren’t a licensed therapist, and there is only so much you can do. If your friend is in danger, or risks being in danger and you know about it, PLEASE reach out to an adult immediately. 


DO your research: know the symptoms, and be a resource for your friend. Acknowledge the ways that anxiety can present itself, and be aware of those symptoms in your friend. 



DON’T be pitying: They don’t need your pity. Saying “oh, that sucks” isn’t going to help them. Instead, be empathetic 🙂 

DON’T compare situations: Don’t tell them about the time you felt sad, and compare it to the depression they are experiencing. Unless you have experienced similar mental health issues, don’t make the situation about you. When it comes to mental health, it’s all about them. 

DON’T belittle their experience: Absolutely do not say things like “I can’t believe this is such a big deal to you,” or “why are you getting upset about this? It’s not a big deal.”  

DON’T bring it up often: Oftentimes, even just thinking about anxiety can trigger it itself. Let them bring it up with you. 

DON’T push it: If your friend is uncomfortable, or doesn’t want to talk about it, don’t push them! They might just not feel comfortable talking about it with you. 

DON’T give up: Anxiety and depression are disorders, and can’t be cured in a day. Patience is key. And although one might never fully recover, you can help them diminish their symptoms. 

And most importantly…

DON’T forget about yourself: Although I previously said that it’s all about THEM, you can’t forget about yourself. You still exist! Know your limits, and take care of your own mental health. It’s like the air masks in airplanes. Help yourself before helping others.