Anxiety – Fact Sheet for Friends, Colleagues and Managers

This fact sheet outlines the different types of anxiety and the treatments that may help manage this condition.

Please seek the support of your GP in diagnosing and managing any mental health condition.


Anxiety is our body’s response to danger, but when anxiety is persistent or excessive it can be a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Anxiety can be different for different people, but some common types of anxiety include:


This is a persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily activities. Often the worry is focused on everyday events such as work tasks and responsibilities, family health and daily routines.


The core symptom of panic disorder is recurrent panic attacks. These are an overwhelming feeling of physical and psychological distress. The symptoms of a panic attack can often be so severe that the person believes they are having a heart attack and attends hospital. Panic attacks can be anticipated, for example in response to a feared object or event or unexpected or can occur for no apparent reason. During a panic attack, people may experience some of the following symptoms at the same time:

  • Palpitations, pounding of the heart or rapid heart rate.
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath, feelings of being smothered or choked.
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Chills or hot flushes
  • Nausea or abdominal pains
  • Feeling detached
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying

SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER (previously called social phobia)

People with this condition are worried about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on in a social situation. As a result, they avoid the situation they are worried about or endure it with great discomfort. Examples of these situations include public speaking, meeting new people or eating/drinking in public.


People with this health condition have excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation or activity that is generally not harmful and, whilst the person knows the fear is excessive compared to the risks, they are unable to overcome it. As a result, they go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. Some examples include fear of flying, fear of heights and fear of spiders.


Anxiety can be successfully treated. By understanding what treatments are available, you can provide the necessary support and direction to help your colleague or employee to access treatment that supports them. Treatments that assist to control anxiety include:


Connecting with a qualified health professional either face to face or over the phone is proven to assist in the treatment of anxiety. The following pages have links to online resources and/or phone support from a mental health practitioner that are free and available 24/7 for you to suggest. GP’s can also prescribe a mental health plan to access up to six treatment sessions with a psychologist who can teach a new way of thinking, reacting and behaving to reduce anxiety.

Providing others with the opportunity to share their concerns with you can be a great start to helping people deal with anxiety and is sometimes a first step to them getting professional help. Take the first step and reach out to see if they are OK and if they would like to talk through what is worrying them.


There are a range of medications that a treating Doctor can prescribe that can assist with anxiety. It is important that you support your friend/colleague/staff member to make an appointment with their GP to talk through their mental health concerns. If they don’t already have a GP, help them via a google search/recommendation to find a GP that has a special interest in mental health.


The health benefits of good work are shown to assist with mental health conditions. We can play a role within the workplace to reduce the stigma of mental health and to support those with a mental health condition to share their condition with their employer and coworkers.


Supporting colleagues to create and maintain connections with the community and with activities that are safe is an important part of their treatment and recovery, as well as a protective factor to prevent mental illness. For example, encourage and support them to become involved in social activities at work.


Exercise and diet impact most parts of our lives and contribute to our mental health. Supporting your colleagues/employees to be active and to eat a healthy balanced diet will assist with any mental health treatment plan prescribed by a mental health practitioner.


Other good links for you to review or people to talk to include:

Black Dog Institute

Beyond Blue



If you want to talk to someone for free you can

Living with a mental health condition looks different for everyone.
Click on the profiles below to understand what experiencing mental health issues might look like in your workplace, and how to get help.