Anxiety is a way of describing the feelings we have when we’re tense, worried, fearful, overwhelmed or unable to switch off and relax.

We can all feel anxious at times and that’s not always a bad thing. It can help our bodies respond to dangers and keep us motivated and alert. This is known as the flight or fight response and is accompanied by the release of the hormone's adrenalin and cortisol, necessary for when we need to run away from or fight a threat.

On the other hand, when there is no actual threat, yet our bodies are continually reacting as if there is, it can result in physiological responses such as difficulty breathing, feeling hot, dizziness, increased heart rate and digestive problems.

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Information for friends or family members

Try not to put pressure on your friend/family member. Instead, ask them if you can do anything to help. As we are all individual and will find different things helpful, asking them is often the simplest solution. 

Encourage your friend/family member to speak with the Student Wellbeing team or give them a call. The Samaritans can support either of you by email ([email protected]) or by phone 116 123.

They may not know why they are feeling this way or how to change things, so try not to blame, criticise or suggest that they ‘just deal with it’. 

The Mind website also has some helpful tips.

For parents and carers of students up to the age of 25, the mental health charity, Young Minds, has a Parents Helpline to support parents and carers by telephone, email and webchat.