Anxiety, stress and depression

What is anxiety?

Feelings of anxiety – a sense of unease, when we have worries or fear – are completely normal. It is when these fears and worries become more intense, produce physical symptoms and affect our ability to lead a normal life that we may need help.

Generalised anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.

Those who suffer with this type of anxiety feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.

Social anxiety disorder is a long-term, overwhelming fear of social situations.

Social anxiety is more than shyness. Those who suffer from this type of anxiety feel overly worried and afraid before, during and after a social situation. It is a fear that does not go away and affects your everyday life, self-confidence, relationships, work or school life.

  • faster, irregular or more noticeable heartbeat
  • headaches, lightheaded, dizzy
  • chest pains
  • loss of appetite
  • sweating
  • breathlessness
  • feeling hot
  • shaking
  • feeling tense or nervous
  • being unable to relax
  • worrying about the past or future
  • feeling tearful
  • unable to sleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fear of the worst happening
  • intrusive traumatic memories
  • obsessive thoughts
  • avoid social situations
  • fear being criticised
  • avoid eye contact
  • low self-esteem


Young Minds has lots of tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

What is stress?

Stress is our body’s reaction to pressure, whether that’s physical, mental or emotional. Under stress, the body produces stress hormones that trigger a physical response. This can sometimes be useful in helping you get through challenging situations, such as the ‘fight or flight’ response. But too much stress too often can have serious negative effects on the body and mind.

Everyone has a different experience of stress, with different triggers and responses. The way you respond to stress can depend on factors including:

  • Perception – how you perceive a situation can be connected to past experiences, your confidence/self-esteem, anxiety or mental health issues
  • Experience – how experienced you are at dealing with pressure
  • Emotional resilience – how resilient you are to stressful situations
  • Daily life factors – other pressures on you at that particular time and how much support you have.

Stress can cause mental health problems to develop and can also worsen existing problems. If you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression.

Stress can stem from various aspects of daily life such as:

  • work – feeling under pressure at work, conflict with work colleagues, unemployment, redundancy or retirement
  • family – relationships, bereavement, caring for a loved one
  • finances – debt, housing issues, cost of living pressures
  • health – illness or injury
  • environmental factors – COVID-19 pandemic (national lockdowns, social isolation)
  • Acute stress – the body’s reaction to a new and challenging situation. Most people experience this type of stress.
  • Severe acute stress – usually resulting from a life-threatening situation, this can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health problems.
  • Episodic acute stress – when you have frequent episodes of acute stress. You might worry about things you think will happen or feel like your life is out of control and you go from one crisis to the next.
  • Chronic stress – this is when you have high stress levels for an extended period of time. Long-term stress can lead to health problems such as anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or a weakened immune system.

Stress can cause many different symptoms in the way you feel and behave. It can be difficult to spot when stress is the cause of your symptoms.

Physical symptoms:

  • headaches or dizziness
  • muscle tension or pain
  • stomach problems
  • chest pain or a faster heartbeat
  • sexual problems

Mental symptoms:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • struggling to make decisions
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • constantly worrying
  • being forgetful

Changes in behaviour:

  • being irritable and snappy
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • eating too much or too little
  • avoiding certain places or people
  • drinking or smoking more

What is depression?

Depression is a feeling of very low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your day to day life. It can cause feelings of despair, guilt, worthlessness, lack of motivation and exhaustion. Depression can affect your self-esteem, sleep, appetite, sex drive and physical health.

People with mild depression are able to lead a normal life, but everything seems harder to do and feels less worthwhile. People with severe depression can feel suicidal.

Depression affects people in many different ways causing a wide variety of psychological, physical and social symptoms. It often develops gradually with many people not recognising the symptoms at first.

  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Feeling anxious or worried
  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling tearful
  • Feeling guilt-ridden
  • Feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Having no motivation or interest in things
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • Lack of energy
  • Disturbed sleep – you might find it difficult to fall asleep at night or wake up very early in the morning
  • Changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Avoiding social situations and having less contact with friends
  • Stopping or neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • Having difficulties in your home, work or family life
  • Mild depression – has some impact on your daily life
  • Moderate depression – has a significant impact on your daily life
  • Severe depression – makes it almost impossible to get through daily life and may lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviour

How can I help someone?

Watching someone suffering with anxiety, stress or depression and the associated mental and physical conditions can be really difficult.

There are some simple things you can do to help, the most important of which is being there to listen and care.

  • Listen – let them know you care and are there to listen.
  • Ask – ask how you can help, or offer help with specific things such as shopping, household tasks.
  • Support – accept them as they are, without judgment.
  • Talk – stay in touch with them by messaging, texting or phoning
  • Look after yourself – providing emotional support to other people can sometimes be stressful and upsetting. Make sure you look after yourself so that you have the energy to be a support to them.

Local support

Find local anxiety and stress support around Doncaster

A 24/7 service providing assessments to identify the most appropriate needs and services to support individuals.

In hours – Phone Mental Health Access Team/Single Point of Contact on 03000 218996 or 0800 8048999

Out of hours RDaSH

Doncaster – Freephone: 0800 804 8999

One of the trained call handlers will signpost you to the most appropriate service depending on your level of need. This may include your out of hours GP, a voluntary organisation or our Access/Crisis Team.

Hard of hearing? Deaf? Text phone service

For anyone unable to use the standard telephone line, ie hard of hearing, we also have a text phone service:

Doncaster – 07967 793815


NHS Doncaster Talking Therapies, previously known as Doncaster IAPT, provides talking therapies to adults who are experiencing common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress.

The Doncaster team is made up of psychological wellbeing practitioners, cognitive behavioural therapists and counsellors. The team can offer a range of different talking therapies to support you in managing your mental health and improving your wellbeing.

Doncaster also offers a long term conditions (LTC) service which offers support for adults diagnosed with long term health conditions and who are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety and/or stress.

Long term conditions include:

  • Cardiac
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory
  • Persistent physical symptoms
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Dermatology

To access the NHS Doncaster Talking Therapies service, you must be registered to a Doncaster GP surgery.



We are talking groups for men because… You’ve either been through a storm, currently going through a storm or have a storm brewing in your life. We meet every Monday night, except bank Holidays, at 7pm.

All that anyone wanting to attend needs to do is email us.


Tel: 01302 812190



Doncaster Mind is a local charity that provides support for people experiencing mental health difficulties. They aim to support personal wellbeing and recovery by providing information and guidance, courses, peer support groups, counselling and befriending services.

Tel: 01302 812190


This programme can help you manage your mental health. It’s a six-week guided programme for adults experiencing mild-to-moderate mental health problems and is based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

It is delivered by our practitioners who are trained to support people through one of eight pathways: 

  • anxiety and panic attacks  
  • coping with grief and loss  
  • loneliness and feeling lonely  
  • low self esteem  
  • low mood and depression  
  • managing anger  
  • managing stress 
  • understanding menopause 

Supported self-help is ideal for anybody who is not currently accessing mental health treatment and/or may be on a waiting list for additional mental health support. They don’t need a formal diagnosis and this programme can provide an excellent early intervention. 

Tel: 0808 801 0442


The 24/7, Doncaster Telephone Helpline offers emotional support and information to people affected by mental illness, aged 16 and over, who live in Doncaster.


Tel: 01302 796191

With Me in Mind is the name of one of the national Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) and there are teams based in both Doncaster and Rotherham. Our service focuses on early prevention and intervention; ensuring children and young people, their families/ carers are able to access appropriate support to improve and maintain positive emotional wellbeing, to expand and widen positive self-esteem and to increase their self-efficacy in order to create resilience.  We are working in collaboration with schools/education settings /external agencies in order to enhance and improve relationships. 


Early Help is a way of getting extra help and support when your family needs it, but getting it as soon as difficulties start, rather than waiting until things get worse. It’s for children and young people of any age and their family. Help can come from all kinds of services and organisations who work together to support your family. You might be using some of these services already, but we want to make sure they are providing the right support for you and your family’s needs.


Digital mental health support for those aged 11-25, living in Doncaster.

Users have instant access to self-help materials, live moderated discussion forums and tools such as online journals and goal trackers. Young people can also contribute written pieces of work reflecting their own experiences, as well as accessing drop-in or booked sessions with professional counsellors from 12pm-10pm weekdays and 6pm-10pm at weekends. Kooth is available to young people in Doncaster, across the ages of 11-25 years.

Tel: 07765 224564


Providing One to One and Group Therapy. Counselling, Art Therapy, Training and more support for adults, children, couples and families.

The service can be contacted Tuesday to Thursday, 10.00am to 7.00pm; and Saturday, 10.00am to 3.00pm

Tel: 01302 618507



The People Focused Group (PFG) is about peer support: people helping people, making everyone’s life better. The PFG hold sessions every week day and organise activities, support, learning opportunities and social events. Their main focus is to give people the tools and support to maintain their own wellness and make friends while doing so.

Everyone is welcome, pop in for a cuppa. Sessions are held:

Monday – Thursday (9am – 4pm)

Friday (9am – 2pm)

Tel: 01302 327474



Doncaster Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way, about whatever’s getting to you.

Please don’t suffer alone.



Mental Health FC CIC is a registered non-profit based in Doncaster that is bringing people together to play the sport they love while helping and improving their mental health – everyone is welcome and supported!

Please don’t suffer alone.

Here 24/7 for young people in Doncaster who need urgent help for mental health crisis. could this please be put underneath the RDASH – Mental Health Single Point of Access service.

03000 218996

Working Win is a free service for people aged over 18 living in Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, or Sheffield. It aims to support you if you have a physical and/or mental health condition and would like to find meaningful employment or stay in your current role. We also provide you with ongoing in-work support in both your new or existing role.

View Working Win leaflet here. 

You can find out more about how Working Win could help you or a loved one here:


Telephone: 0300 30 33 111

National support organisations

See what national support is available for anxiety and stress.


NHS provides information on 5 steps that you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

Tel: 0800 678 1602



Open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year

Age UK is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. We provide companionship, advice and support for older people who need it most.

Tel: 0800 138 1619  (24-hour Helpline, 365 days a year)

Text: 07537 404719 


Website :

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. Helping  former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The service provides confidential advice and support to veterans and their families.


Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. We have expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.


The NHS website has contact information for a number of mental health helplines.

Text: 85258 (24/7 help)



Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.


Young Minds has lots of tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A charity that provides mental health support to children and young people and their families.

Support Apps

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