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How to know if someone close to you has anxiety or depression — and how to help
Wednesday, 30 September · 2 min read

Circumstances this year have taken a toll on many people's mental health.

For example, recent figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics found depression rates have doubled during the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple studies have also shown a rise in mental health concerns.

And while it's worth paying attention to your own mental health, it's also important to look out for the people around you — as often it's a partner, family member or carer who first realises that help is needed.

So how can you know if someone close to you is dealing with anxiety or depression? If you’re worried about asking them directly, there are signs you can watch out for.

Someone may have anxiety if they:

  • avoid certain situations that make them uneasy
  • have become less confident and assertive
  • find it hard to make decisions
  • are often tense or on edge
  • appear panicked or overwhelmed

Someone may be depressed if they:

  • don’t go out much
  • shut themselves off from family and friends
  • find it hard to focus or concentrate
  • rely increasingly on substances like alcohol or drugs
  • no longer find enjoyment in things, like hobbies or sex
  • are irritable
  • lack energy and enthusiasm

It's important to remember that symptoms of these conditions aren't always obvious and can develop gradually.

If you suspect someone you know may have anxiety or depression, read the tips below on how to help them.

Quote of the day

Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far.

Jodi Picoult, writer

How to help someone with anxiety or depression