Draft guidelines on borderline personality disorder issued this week, advise primary care professionals to help patients manage isolated incidents of anxiety by referring to previous coping strategies and enhancing these skills.
GPs should also direct patients to organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or debt counsellors.
Giving patients a follow-up appointment a few days later can also alleviate anxiety.
But those repeatedly self-harming, taking risks or showing marked emotional instability need to be referred on to community mental health services, according to NICE.
The guidelines are open for consultation until August.