How to help people with anxiety

Raelynn Watkins, Contributing Writer

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned a million times already, I am the founder of Wyoming’s GSA. Which I advertised as a support group for people of the LGBTQ+ community, which is essentially what it is. Most meeting’s we talk about how our days have been for the past week, and rant about how crappy high school and our lives are in general. Exactly what support groups do, complain to other people who understand what you’re going through. I have done research and attended classes to ensure I know how to handle most situations, what to say in response, and what to suggest they do. Here are some things I learned about coping with Anxiety and what bystanders can do to help during a anxiety attack or even if someone is just feeling anxious.

Do’s
Do let the person with anxiety know that you’re there to talk. Ask them how they are often to establish a relationship and let them know you are reliable to lean on.
Spend as much time with them as possible. Preferably in person, but even over text or phone call can have a big impact. ]
Acknowledge improvement. Small things like ordering food at a restaurant can make people nervous, so if you notice they began to do things like that on their own, make sure they know you can tell they’re trying and that you’re proud of them.
Stay calm, and reassure them that everything will be okay. Nothing is forever.
Take any suicidal, degrading, and mental issue problem comments seriously. If they’re talking about it, it’s on their mind.
Encourage healthy sleeping and eating habits.
Give physical attention (if they don’t mind being touched), such as hugs. Skin on skin contact releases oxytocin and endorphins.
Educate yourself on what anxiety is and its symptoms.

Don’ts
Ignore them, or give them any reason to think you’re ignoring them. They have put their trust in you, don’t make them regret that. If you’re busy, simply communicate, send them a text saying “little busy today, but call me if you need anything.” If you don’t do so, they may start to wonder if they did anything wrong and become very worried they hurt the relationship.
Say they’re faking it. Anxiety is an illness. Don’t make them feel any worse than they already do. They need your support.
Let the anxiety affect you too, yes you’re there to help but don’t let their problems become your own.
Tell them to “calm down” or “just do it”
Let them spend time with people who have a negative impact on their life. For example anyone that does any of the don’t on this list.
Let them establish unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, starving themselves, or anything that is self harm related.
Let them become dependent on medication.
Give up on them.