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Help from health professionals

Depending on your situation, you can get help from a range of health professionals.

You might need help from a health professional if:

  • your self-help strategies and lifestyle changes are not working
  • anxiety is affecting your daily life
  • you avoid places or situations to manage your anxiety
  • you have trouble sleeping, relaxing or concentrating
  • you feel like you can’t control your anxiety, or it’s getting worse
  • you feel suicidal – if this is the case, call Lifeline on 13 114 at any time, day or night.

Topics on this page

Who can help?

Depending on your situation, you can get help from a range of health professionals, including:

Talk to your doctor

Your doctor might be able to help you, or they may refer you to a health professional with experience in managing anxiety.

You might feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor about your mental health. Here are some helpful tips:

  • choose a doctor you trust
  • book a longer appointment so you have plenty of time to talk
  • ask a friend or family member to come with you for extra support
  • bring a list of your symptoms (e.g. concerns about your sleep, appetite and mood) so you don’t forget to talk about them
  • bring a list of questions you want answered
  • take notes during your appointment so you remember important points.

Mental health treatment plans

Your doctor can write a mental health treatment plan (previously known as a mental health care plan).

The plan outlines:

  • your mental health needs
  • the help you require
  • your goals
  • recommended treatments.

Your doctor might include referrals to other services and health professionals, like a psychologist.

The plan gives you a number of sessions with a health professional at a reduced cost (i.e. you can claim your sessions on Medicare).

Medication

Sometimes people need to take medication to help manage their anxiety.

There are many different types of medication that can be used. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some medications are taken daily, and some are taken as needed. Your doctor or psychiatrist will recommend the best option for your symptoms. Note, it can take time to find the right medication and dose for you.

Complementary medicine and therapies

Complementary medicine and therapies might help with your anxiety. You can contact a qualified practitioner for advice. If you do use complementary medicine and therapies, it’s important to share this information with your doctor as some herbal remedies can affect other prescribed medicines.

Herbal remedies and supplements

You can try using herbal remedies to help with your anxiety. Common herbal remedies include kava, chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm and valerian. You can also take supplements such as B vitamins, fish oil and magnesium.

Research about the effectiveness of these herbs and supplements is limited, so talk to a qualified practitioner before you decide.

Other therapies

Massage

Massage can be used to promote feelings of relaxation. You can book regular sessions with a trained professional to help manage your anxiety.

Essential oils

Research suggests that some aromatherapy oils such as lavender, bergamot and valerian may help with relaxation. Tell your doctor if you use essential oils as they may affect other medicines.

Download our fact sheets

Help from other organisations

If you have anxiety, remember you’re not alone. Many organisations have information and programs that can help, including:

  • The Better Health Channel – for information about anxiety and links to support and treatment options.
  • Head to Health – for information about anxiety and list of local services. If you live in NSW, ACT or Victoria you can also talk to a mental health professional by calling 1800 595 212 from Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5.00pm.
  • MindSpot – a national online and telephone assessment and treatment service for adults with anxiety or depression.
  • Lifeline – a 24-hour crisis service. You can also call 13 114 at any time, day or night.
  • Headspace – a national mental health foundation for young people.
  • Beyond Blue – information and online programs for anxiety and other mental health problems. You can also call 1300 224 636 any time, day or night.
  • Kids Helpline – a counselling service for children aged 5-12, 13-17 and young adults aged 18-25. You can also call 1800 55 1800 any time, day or night.
  • Reach Out – a website for young people with helpful tips on managing anxiety, including an online community.
  • The Butterfly Foundation – information and help for eating disorders. You can also call 1800 33 4673 any time, day or night.
  • SANE – information and support for managing anxiety. You can also call 1800 187 263 from 10am-10pm weekdays.
  • Black Dog Institute – resources and support to help you understand anxiety.
  • Australian Women’s Health Network – website with information about anxiety. Click on your state for local services.
  • Healthdirect – trusted health information and advice. You can also call 1800 022 222 any time, day or night.
  • Embrace – a website dedicated to mental health with information available in a different languages.
Logo: Liptember Foundation

Thanks to Liptember Foundation for supporting Jean Hailes to produce these pages on anxiety. Each year, the Liptember Campaign raises funds and awareness for women's mental health during the month of September.

This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at June 2022.

Last updated: 30 August 2022 | Last reviewed: 28 June 2022

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