Young boy, 10 years old, in tears after receiving a threatening text message on his mobile phone. Young boy 10 years with a strained expression on his face.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone will experience at one time or another.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety can be described as a sense of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, fear, or dread of what’s about to happen or what might happen. It is a natural human reaction that involves the mind and body.

How does anxiety work?

Anxiety acts like a body’s alarm system that is activated when we feel we are facing uncertainty, a threat, or even danger. In this way, it can serve as an important survival function.

It is natural for new, unfamiliar or challenging situations to prompt a feeling of anxiety or nervousness – for example an important test, a class presentation, joining a new social group and taking on a new task that we might not have done before can all trigger anxiety.

Even though these situations don’t threaten our safety, we might fear that we will be embarrassed if we make a mistake. We might also feel that we will be rejected, when we want to be accepted and fit in.  

Support is available

No matter what type of anxiety a person may be challenged with, there is support available and there are people who can help you with it.

If you ever think or feel that anxiety is getting in the way of your daily life, is there a trusted adult you can talk with about how you are feeling? They might be able to support you with arranging an appointment with your doctor, or a mental health professional.

Anxiety disorders are typically treated by mental health professionals or therapists. They provide support and guidance and teach coping skills, such a relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. In some situations, medication can be used as part of the treatment for anxiety.

Regular exercise, good nutrition and a good nights’ sleep are all important factors that can help you understand your anxiety and help you gain access to the correct tools to help control and maintain your anxiety.

If you would like to talk at any time of the day or night, Childline is here for you.


Other supports available include:​

is a site provided by the HSE. There you can find information about many issues related to mental health and also find information about other support services.​

is the National Centre for Youth Mental Health. Jigsaw Services provide young people aged 12-25 with a place they can visit for free and confidential support from trained mental health professionals.


The HSE's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, known as CAMHS

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