Worried about a friend or family member?
Anxiety and depression are common in Australia. In any one year, around 1 million adults in Australia experience depression and over 2 million experience anxiety*. The good news is that, just like physical conditions, anxiety and depression can be treated. Both conditions share many of the same symptoms, and with the right treatment, most people recover. The sooner a person with anxiety and/or depression seeks support, the sooner he or she can recover.
Some common symptoms of anxiety and depression are listed below, this list is not exhaustive nor sufficient for a diagnosis. For more information call us to arrange an appointment, or in an emergency please call an ambulance on 000 or lifeline on 13 11 14.
Common symptoms of Anxiety
- Excessive stress, worry, fear or panic
- Restlessness or feeling on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance
- Panic like symptoms such as breathlessness, nausea, heart palpitations, and hyperventilating.
Common symptoms of Depression
- Feeling sad, empty or hopeless
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as hobbies
- Changes in weight
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Fatigue, loss of energy or lack of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating and indecisiveness
- Thoughts of suicide
What can I do?
- Let the person know if you’ve noticed a change in their behaviour.
- Spend time talking with the person about their experiences and let them know that you’re there to listen without being judgmental.
- Suggest the person see a doctor or health professional and/or help them to make an appointment.
- Offer to go with the person to the doctor or health professional.
- Help the person to find information about anxiety and depression from a website or library.
- Encourage the person to try to get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy food.
- Discourage the person from using alcohol or other drugs to feel better.
- Encourage friends and family members to invite the person out and keep in touch, but don’t pressure the person to participate in activities.
- Encourage the person to face their fears with support from their doctor/psychologist.
It would be unhelpful to:
- Put pressure on them by telling them to “snap out of it” or “get their act together”
- Stay away or avoid them
- Tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more
- Pressure them to party more or wipe out how they’re feeling with drugs and alcohol.
For more details see the Beyond Blue Depression and Anxiety Information Booklet.
Brief Mental Health Courses
To learn more about mental health and how to support those around you, we recommend the Mental Health First Aid Course run for members of the public. This is a great starting point and will equip you with basic skills including:
- Skills in how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems;
- Knowledge of the possible causes or risk factors for these mental health problems;
- Awareness of the evidenced based medical, psychological and alternative treatments available;
- Skills in how to give appropriate initial help and support someone experiencing a mental health problem;
- Skills in how to take appropriate action if a crisis situation arises involving suicidal behaviour, panic attack, stress reaction to trauma, overdose or threatening psychotic behaviour.
For more information about the courses, dates and costs please see the MHCA website here.
* Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.