Panic Attacks

Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times. It's a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations.

A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety. The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.

If you experience sudden, intense anxiety and fear, it might be the symptoms of a panic attack. Other symptoms may include:

  • a racing heartbeat
  • feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling that you're losing control
  • sweating, trembling or shaking
  • shortness of breath or breathing very quickly
  • a tingling in your fingers or lips
  • feeling sick (nausea)

A panic attack usually lasts 5 to 30 minutes. They can be very frightening, but they're not dangerous and should not harm you.



  • do not try to do everything at once – set small targets that you can easily achieve
  • do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better
  • do not avoid situations that make you anxious – try slowly building up time spent in worrying situations to gradually reduce anxiety
  • try not to tell yourself that you're alone; most people experience anxiety or fear at some point in their life
  • try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve anxiety as these can all contribute to poor mental health

It's important to tell someone how you feel as this may bring an immediate sense of relief and help you.

You could speak to any trusted adult including:

  • friend
  • member of your family
  • teacher
  • counsellor
  • doctor
  • school nurse

You may be referred and seen by the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). You can speak to your teacher, school nurse or GP to discuss a referral or call the service on 01895 256521.

If you don’t feel ready to tell someone you know there are also a number of charities providing mental health support for children and young people

  • Link Counselling Service (Hillingdon) Offers one-to-one counselling, offered free of charge, by appointment, for people aged 13-25 years who live, work or study in The London Borough of Hillingdon. They can be contacted by calling  01895277222
  • Kooth – Online anonymous support and counselling. The online chat to professionals runs from 12pm-10pm on weekdays and 6pm-10pm on weekends
  • Best For You exists to make it easier for you to find the support you need. It includes information about mental health, digital tools for anyone in the UK, and personalised mental health services for young people in North West London.
  • Papyrus – Telephone help line runs from 9am-midnight every day, 0800 068 4141
  • Childline – Telephone helpline online chat support, both have qualified counsellors. 0800 1111 and They also have a BSL video chat option for children who are deaf or hearing impaired
  • Young minds – 24/7 Free texting service. Text YM to 85258 texts are answered by trained volunteers. If they think a child or young person is at risk they will share details with someone who can help. 
  • Shout – a 24/7 free crisis text service available by texting 85258
  • Samaritans – a 24/7 free confidential help line just call 116 123