How to help a colleague who is experiencing anxiety - Guide - Boostalab

The speed of change, the ever-increasing workload (personal and professional), and the pressure on our lifestyle all contribute to stress. And no matter where the stress comes from or what kind of stress it is, it has become a real problem over time. It is therefore essential to pay attention to it!


Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in Canada. In 2019, nearly one in two Quebecers said they were anxious. It is also true to say that each person experiences it at one time or another, to varying degrees.


Are stress and anxiety the same thing? Anxiety is a psychological state triggered in response to a vague, unknown or perceived threat. This state often leads to an erroneous perception of what can happen to us. In fact, anxiety is in a way the result of the accumulation of some or all of the ingredients that cause stress. Sonia Lupien, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Stress, breaks down stress into 4 triggers, a bit like 4 ingredients in a recipe: Control (the feeling of having little or no control over a situation), Unpredictability (an unexpected event or an uncertain situation), Change (a new situation), Ego under threat (a perception that our skills are being questioned).


Anxiety affects all aspects of a person’s life: their personal and professional life, but also that of their team. It therefore becomes essential to be able to recognize it in order to support a colleague who shows signs of it.


  • You realize that one of your colleagues is having trouble performing the same work as usual.
  • You no longer recognize your colleague. Their behaviour is unusual, they display false perceptions of reality or anticipate negative or catastrophic events.


  • By recognizing the distinctive signs of an anxious person.
  • By supporting the person in what they are going through, depending on your role in the organization or the team.
  • By suggesting possible solutions.


Note : Although you have the best intention in the world, there are times when you will need to direct your colleague to external resources with expertise in the matter. Sometimes your ear and good advice will not be enough! You cannot replace a psychologist or healthcare professional.


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Hugo Lambert

M. Lambert a développé une expertise en gestion d’équipe interdisciplinaire et en intervention auprès des clientèles complexes. M. Lambert œuvre depuis plus de 22 ans en intervention auprès des jeunes et leur famille. Diplômé en éducation spécialisée et certifié en intervention jeunesse (UQAC), il a travaillé dans plusieurs milieux d’intervention…

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