According to statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America ,Anxiety affects about 40 million adults (18 and above) in the US every year. Those diagnosed with depression are often found to have an anxiety disorder as well. The uncertainty brought about by the pandemic and more recent events such as the riot on Capitol Hill has not made matters any easier.

“As the pandemic relentlessly persists, we are seeing the highest levels of anxiety and depression reported since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March,”

Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA (Mental Health America)

Mental health issues like anxiety can be brought on by several things working simultaneously. No one is totally immune, and most of the time, the condition is treatable.

The sooner you catch it, the easier it is to treat. The best way to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy is to be more aware. In apartments with roommates, it is good to keep an eye on one another. Often, due to frequent lockdowns and quarantining, other support systems are cut off.

Here are a few signs to indicate that your roommate may be having trouble with anxiety:

Notice if your roommate is behaving in a manner that is not routine for him or her. These are some tell-tale signs of anxiety to look out for. It is important to note that these need to be out of the ordinary for the individual.

Are they constantly tired? And have difficulty concentrating?

When someone is constantly anxious, his or her body produces more adrenaline. This puts them in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’ and can make sleeping difficult. So, they are more prone to being tired all the time.

If you suspect something, pay attention to your coliving partner. Has your roommate been forgetting what they usually wouldn’t? Are they having trouble focusing on a conversation? Anxiety prompts people to ponder excessively on negative outcomes, making it difficult for them to focus.

Is their appetite off?

Since you’re in a shared coliving space, it may be easier for you to spot things like a drastic change in appetite. This is a physical indication of anxiety. Are you noticing that your roommate is experiencing a loss in appetite? Or is it the other extreme? Do you see your coliving companion binge eating unusually often?

Have you noticed them distancing themselves?

Those who suffer from anxiety feel like avoiding or escaping situations that might make them anxious. Therefore, they have been known to spend a lot of energy devising ways to avoid these situations. If your roommate is avoiding conversations, not really keeping in touch with friends or family. These are indications that he or she is trying to isolate or distance themselves.

What can you do?

How can you tell if it’s time for your roommate to seek professional help? As a rule of thumb, if anxiety affects your coliving partner’s daily life and routine, it might be time to consult a therapist.

Being the one living close to your coliving partner, you would likely notice the small stuff.

For example, if they are avoiding social activities, work, or exercise consistently. These are strong indications that the person in your coliving space would benefit from speaking to a professional.

In apartments with roommates, you may not be familiar enough with one another to broach the subject yourself. In this case, get in touch with their best friend or a family member to share your concerns.

If you choose to speak to your roommate about it directly, remember that people often don’t seek treatment due to the stigma attached to mental healthcare. It is a delicate situation that needs to be approached with care.

Avoid forcing a confrontation. Instead, create a dialogue and a safe space for your friend to express his or her concerns. If you are unsure of what to say, it’s best to speak to a mental health care professional to understand how to do this.

It can be quite difficult to stand by and watch someone else struggle with a condition like anxiety. Whether this person is a friend or just one member of a shared apartment.

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If you wish you could do more, here are some ways to support your roommate:

  1. Don’t dismiss their concerns. For someone with anxiety, some experiences can be frightening for them but not for you. Belittling their concerns by calling them small worries doesn’t actually make the anxiety stop. Instead, ask what you can do to support them.
  2. Offer assistance but don’t take over. Helpful friends and family often forget that support is to help someone help themselves. It does not mean that you should take over tasks for your friend. In apartments with roommates, this could mean watching your friend struggle over making a decision. To support your friend, help them list out the pros and cons related to the issue but let them make the final decision on their own.
  3. Understand more about their condition so you can avoid stereotypes and making generalizations. Educating ourselves on conditions like anxiety, depression, and so on can go a long way in destigmatizing mental health conditions.