A collection of recent reports suggest that anxiety, one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in Britain, is on the rise among young people.
Experts point to a variety of causes, from the pressures of finding a job to the modern “always-on” culture in which simply being separated from a mobile device can trigger stress. For some, anxiety can cause crippling panic attacks: according to the British charity YouthNet, one third of young women and one in 10 young men suffer from them.
But how do you know whether your worries are normal or if they are serious enough to suggest you should seek help? Doctors use a variety of diagnostic tools – and our quiz is based on one that GPs use to check for symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, the GAD-7.
“The self-administered GAD-7 is a good place to start,” says Elizabeth England, mental health lead of the Royal College of General Practitioners. “Though be aware that other types of anxiety, such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social adjustment disorder, may not be picked up. For further help visit your GP or self-refer to your local IAPT psychology service.”
But whether your worries are keeping you awake every night, or just nagging at you in the background, there is help out there to help calm your mind. Experts recommend mindfulness meditation, exercise and self-help books (such as Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now). It might seem overwhelming at first but once you start talking about it, you’ll find there’s a world of help and advice out there. Today is World Mental Health Day, so there’s never been a better time to start.