Whether it’s a friend, a family member or a colleague – feeling worried about someone else’s mental health can be difficult if you’re not sure what to do. In this article, you’ll find plenty of tips and advice on how to talk to someone else about their mental health, ways you can help them, and how to still make sure you’re taking care of yourself too.
Let’s take a look at some simple ways that you might be able to help someone if they’re struggling.
We know that talking about mental health can be difficult, and asking someone about their mental health might feel daunting. If you’re noticing that someone seems ‘out of sorts’ or not quite themselves, it’s worth starting a conversation with them to check in and see how they’re feeling.
A safe space
Create an atmosphere for them to feel at ease and able to open up. This could be in a private space at work, at home, or out and about. Sometimes it’s easier for someone to open up while walking. It’s best to choose a place that has no distractions.
Sometimes, someone might not want to open up straight away and that’s okay. It might be that they’re not comfortable opening up just yet, or it may even be that they don’t fully understand how they’re feeling, which can be difficult to explain. It’s important to have patience and respect their boundaries of what they’re comfortable with. Check out our guide to talking about mental health for more advice on this topic.
For many people, having someone to open up to about their mental health can make a big difference in how they’re feeling. As the person offering support, it can be easy to go into problem-solving mode, but this isn’t always the most helpful approach. Often, just listening and caring is enough! Let them offload, guide the conversation where needs be (with patience and respect), and ask them if there is anything you can do to help with how they’re feeling.
Getting more support
It can be useful to go into the conversation prepared with resources and information to share with them. It might be that you ask if you can help them with arranging an appointment with their GP or a professional who can support them with how they’re feeling.
There are many different types of support available, depending on how they’re feeling. Take a look at some of the common mental health problems we help with. It might be useful to also let them know that they can ask their GP for a referral to free NHS Talking Therapies, and alternatively they can self-refer if they’d prefer not to talk to their GP first.
Here are a few resources that might be useful:
NHS Talking Therapies – find a NHS talking therapies service
NHS Talking Therapies at Everyturn – see if we offer talking therapies in your area
Everyturn Advice Hub – a range of advice and information for many common mental health problems
Are they in a mental health crisis or feeling suicidal?
If you or someone else is in immediate danger of hurting yourself or someone else, call 999 or visit your local A&E department. You should be taken as seriously as a physical emergency.
If there is no immediate danger, here are some useful links:
- NHS urgent mental health helpline.
- Samaritans (24/7 confidential support by phone) – call 116 123
- Shout Crisis Text Line (24/7 confidential support by text message) – text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258, or text ‘YM’ if you’re under 19
Taking care of yourself
Listening to someone, giving them information, and helping them with practical things can be really helpful, but it’s important to remember that there’s only so much you can do.
A mental health professional will be able to work with someone to help them cope with their feelings, manage their mood, and find ways to help them in the future. Remember to check in with yourself and take care of your own mental health and wellbeing too!
Take a look at some of other advice hub articles for more advice on your own mental health and wellbeing