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If someone else is having a panic attack

Explain to them they’re having a panic attack, which is common. It is NOT dangerous and will pass.

Tell them that it’s okay. They are safe and you’re there with them.

Stay with them.

Stay calm – don’t panic at them panicking. Use a calm, gentle tone of voice. Be patient with them.

Ask them what they need.

Help them understand what they are experiencing.

Get them to focus on their breath.

Take slow deep breaths with them. Count for them as they breathe in for four and out for a count of four. Suggest they breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Demonstrate this for them. They can close their eyes if this helps them to relax.

Help them to shift their focus to:

Repeat to them – You’re safe, nothing is wrong, and you’re going to be okay. Help them focus on what is around them

Ask them to tell you

Guide them through a muscle relaxation exercise. Tell them to tense one muscle at a time and then relax it. Tense and release all the parts of the body until the whole body is relaxed.

Once the panic attack is over.

Remind them that panic attacks are common and are not a sign of weakness or failure.

Show them patience and kindness and encourage them to do the same for themselves during the process of recovery, which can take a while.

Help them identify activities that calm and relax them:

Tell them you’re there for them if they want to talk about it or need any support and encourage them to reach out to others too. If they have recurrent panic attacks or feel they are interfering with their daily life, recommend to them that they speak to a mental health professional for support, guidance, and treatment. You can help them find where to get help.

Help them identify triggers of their panic attacks, so they can avoid or manage those triggers in the future.

Remind them that everyone copes differently, so it's important to find and practise what works best for them

Explain that some of these symptoms can be like those of other medical conditions. They should seek medical attention if they’re unsure about the cause of their symptoms.