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San Francisco Health Service System - Mental Health Awareness Month: Worry & Anxiety

One in five American adults suffer from mental illness in any given year. There are many ways you or someone you know could be impacted by a mental health issue.  In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, SFHSS Well-Being is elevating the conversation on mental health. Each week during the month of May we will focus on one area of mental health and provide resources and tools, help you recognize the signs of mental illness, and identify how you can get help for yourself or someone you love. For more information, click HERE.

Worry & Anxiety


It’s natural to be concerned about having to shelter in place, your workplace closing, your children staying home from school or how you or someone you love might get sick. While this reality is scary to think about, being proactive can help relieve, at least, some of the anxiety. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

What does it mean to worry or be anxious?


Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life, especially in this time of uncertainty and challenge. Worry can be unhealthy when it’s excessive and persistent and starts to interfere with your life.



  • Taking frustrations out on people closest to you 
  • Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs
  • Laying awake at night, unable to calm your thoughts
  • Not engaging in activities that you enjoy

Chronic worry can also be a symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a common anxiety disorder that involves tension, nervousness, and a general feeling of unease that colors your whole life, making it difficult to function.



Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States. Anxiety is an emotion you feel when you’re worried about something. Symptoms typically include:

  • Your body tenses up 
  • Your heart races 
  • You may feel agitated
  • Your mind becomes fixated on the thing you’re worried about 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

When anxiety gets so out of hand that it starts to interfere with your daily life, it is time to seek help so you can start to feel better. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, and PTSD. But what they all have in common is that a person with an anxiety disorder experiences anxiety that is out of proportion with what’s happening around them.

What You Can Do Now

Take a Self Assessment

  1. Are Your Worry Days a Sign of Anxiety?
  2. What's Your Anxiety Superpower?

Try An Activity:

Help you gain a healthier perspective and to increase your sense of well-being:

  1. Make a list of ten things you have control over during the disruption of life right now. They can be as simple as, “Choosing what I want to eat.” Take time to appreciate these 10 areas of control. Make this a daily practice.
  2. When you start to worry – get active and engage in some exercise.
  3. When you start to feel anxious note where in your body you are feeling it, acknowledge the feeling and take time out for 5 – 10 slow deep breaths.
  4. Engage in a guided meditation specific to anxiety. 

For more information on worry and anxiety, click HERE.


Ask For Help Now

If you are concerned about how worry and anxiety is impacting your life, don’t wait – We’re Here For You.  


  • 24/7 FREE Tele-Counseling: EAP Counselors are available for individual confidential telephone counseling and consultations for active employees. Call: (628) 652-4600 or (800) 795-2351
  • Mental Health Benefits through your Health Plan
  • National Suicide Prevention
    Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. This is a free 24-hour hotline answered by the certified crisis center nearest to your area code.