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How to help a young adults with anxiety at work

Did you know that 16% of young people aged 16-24 meet the criteria for diagnosis with a common mental health condition such as depression and anxiety?

In this article, we discuss four actionable ways to tackle anxiety in the workplace and help young people manage their mental health in these challenging and unprecedented times. In addition to this, we have also including links to charities and organisations that can offer further advice, information and support.


How to help a young adults with anxiety at work

The world is currently in a period of upheaval effecting everyone from every walk of life. Jobs have been paused, lockdown has been initiated and social distancing measures have been implemented. This can trigger various potential mental health problems for young adults. For example, those that normally suffer with social anxiety may be even more anxious about going out to buy essential items or get their exercise due to the risks associated with catching COVID-19. Young people who suffer from eating disorders, who limit what they eat to a select few items may not be able to find them in stores with limited supplies therefore triggering heightened stress and anxiety. With the heightened emphasis on germs and cleaning, those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, especially those linked with cleaning, may experience more extreme impulses to clean, taking them away from other essential daily activities. For a young person who has a history of an anxiety disorder but was able to get a handle on it through going to the gym or meeting certain friends for a coffee but can no longer do these things, may experience a relapse in their disorder.

There are many different types of mental ill health, anxiety and depression so being able to manage this will be different for everyone. It’s important to remember that not one shoe fits all, so below we will go through a list of ways to possibly help young people who are mentally ill manage or treat their issue during this time.


1. Speak Up

Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to mental health. Although it is getting better and many more people are starting to ask for help there are still a lot of people who aren’t. Especially in the younger population or those at high school as they may feel they will be judged by their friends. So, if you notice a friend, family member or colleague who has become increasingly withdrawn from social interaction then don’t be afraid to speak to them about it. Ask open-ended questions and allow them to lead the conversation. If they start off unwilling, by you showing some gentle perseverance they may start to open up.


2. Be Prepared to Listen

It can be a big deal for a young person to open up about their feelings and worries. By sitting with them and listening, letting them lead the conversation you are more likely to appear to them as someone who cares about their thoughts. Something they may have convinced themselves that isn’t the case. If they already experience anxiety then by bombarding them with too many questions and not listening you can have the opposite effect, no matter how pure the intention.


3. Help to Create A Positive Environment

After listening to their anxieties, or perhaps you have witnessed someone having a panic attack due to it all getting too much then work to create a positive environment with them to help prevent this from happening again. Perhaps encourage them to write a daily plan to give them a goal for each day. Help keep their mind focused on other tasks. Invite them to join in with group activities. By keeping the mind busy and filled with positive thoughts it can help bring a young person out of the darkness.


4. Encourage Physical Activity

It is scientifically proven that physical activity helps those who are mentally unwell. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin from the brain, which helps to improve mood. Physical activity can also raise self-esteem and confidence. Goal setting is a useful way to increase the frequency of exercise, the more that is done the higher the benefit. Getting out and about to complete your exercise in the fresh air can give an extra boost in mood through contact with nature. Vitamin D from the sun can be especially helpful to those suffering from depression, there have been links made between Vitamin D deficiency and recovery from depression and other mental health issues.


Would you like further mental health advice, information and support for you and your employees?


  • Anxiety UK

Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon- Fri 9.30am to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am to 8pm)


  • Bipolar UK

A charity helping those with bipolar disorder or manic depression.


  • Mind

Promotes views and needs of people with mental health problems. Local support group information.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon- Fri 9am to 6pm)


  • OCD Action

Support, information, treatment ideas or resources for those suffering from OCD.

Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Mon- Fri 9am to 5pm)


Young suicide prevention society.

Phone: 0800 068 4141 (Mon- Fri 10am to 10pm. Weekends and bank holiday 2pm to 10pm)

  • YoungMinds

Information on child and adolescent mental health.

Phone: Parents helpline 0800 802 5544 (Mon to Fri 9.30am to 4pm)




Want to provide better mental health support to your entire workforce?

Pascal® is an innovative online mental health support platform that allows you and your employees to measure home and work pressure, ensures you comply with HSE regulations and employment law, and importantly, provide your employees with more support surrounding mental health. 

Taking less than 10 minutes to complete, employees will receive a confidential report with recommendations and links to existing support pathways. Your company report then identifies hotspots and trends to focus your mental health strategy around.  Learn more about Pascal here.

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