How to Help a Friend With Mental Health Issues

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

  • What Is Substance Abuse Treatment and How Does It Work? A Booklet for Children and Their Families This program was developed for family members of those who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction difficulties. Questions regarding substance abuse, including its symptoms, different forms of therapy, and rehabilitation are addressed in this section. This publication addresses the issues of children whose parents have drug misuse or addiction disorders. Addiction to alcohol and drugs may occur in even the most loving of families. This book describes how alcohol and drug addiction have an impact on the entire family. He describes the process of drug and alcohol addiction therapy, how family interventions may be a first step toward recovery, and how to assist children in homes afflicted by alcoholism and drug misuse. It’s Not Your Fault (National Association of Colleges and Employers) (PDF | 12 KB) Assures kids who have parents who misuse alcohol or drugs that “It’s not your fault!” and that they are not alone in their struggles with substance addiction. A resource list is provided, which encourages kids to seek emotional assistance from other adults, school counselors, and youth support organizations such as Alateen, among other places. It Hurts So Much: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way The organization provides information on alcohol and drug addiction to youngsters whose parents or friends’ parents may be struggling with substance misuse issues. The author encourages young people to look out for one another by talking about their problems and joining support organizations such as Alateen. When There Has Been an Attempt: A Guide to Taking Care of a Family Member Once you have received treatment in the emergency department, Aids family members in dealing with the aftermath of a relative’s suicide attempt by providing information and resources. Provides an overview of the emergency department treatment procedure, a list of questions to ask regarding follow-up care, and information on how to limit risk and maintain safety while at home. Family therapy can be beneficial for people who are recovering from mental illness or substance abuse. This course examines the function of family therapy in the treatment of mental illness and substance misuse. A family therapy session is described in detail, along with the people that conduct them. It also includes information on the usefulness of family therapy in the rehabilitation process. Please visit the SAMHSA Store for further resources.

How to support someone with a mental health problem

We all go through difficult situations, and others are there to assist us get through them. We’ve also been concerned for the mental health of others at various points throughout time. There are several methods to show your support for someone you care about, whether they are a friend, family member, or coworker.

How do I know if someone has a mental health problem?

It may appear evident when someone is going through a difficult moment, but there is no simple method to determine whether or not they are suffering from a mental health condition. You don’t always need to know everything. It’s more vital to respond gently to someone who appears to be in distress than it is to determine whether or not they have a medical condition. Despite the fact that some symptoms are widespread among persons suffering from certain mental health conditions, no two people suffer from the same illness in precisely the same manner.

In our A-Z of mental health, you’ll find information on a variety of mental health conditions.

How can I help?

There are several methods in which you might assist a friend, relative, or coworker who is suffering from a mental health problem:

Talking about mental health

When you are concerned about someone, it can be tough to know what to do. Fortunately, there are resources available to help. When you become aware that there is a problem, it is critical that you do not delay. Waiting and expecting that they would come to you for assistance may cause you to waste crucial time in providing them with assistance. When you know someone is going through a difficult time, reaching out to them is frequently the first move you should do. You will be able to determine what is upsetting them and what you may do to assist them in this manner.

Eight tips for talking about mental health

When creating an open and non-judgemental environment, it is critical to eliminate any distractions.

2. Let them share as much or as little as they want to

Allow them to take the initiative and lead the debate at their own speed. Don’t put any pressure on them to share anything with you that they aren’t ready to share. Speaking requires a great deal of faith and guts. Maybe you’re the first person they’ve been able to speak with about this situation.

3. Don’t try to diagnose or second guess their feelings

Despite the fact that you may be a medical expert, and while you may be willing to listen and provide support, you are not a trained counsellor. Please avoid making assumptions about what is wrong or offering your own diagnosis or answers too fast. –

4. Keep questions open ended

“Why don’t you tell me how you’re feeling?” you could inquire. rather than “I can tell you’re depressed,” use “I can see you’re depressed.” Try to keep your wording as neutral as possible. Allow the recipient ample time to respond and refrain from peppering them with too many questions.

5. Talk about self-care

Discuss methods of de-stressing or practicing self-care with them, and inquire as to whether or not they found anything useful. Exercising, eating a nutritious diet, and getting a good night’s sleep may all assist to maintain and protect mental health and well-being.

6. Listen carefully to what they tell you

Make a point of repeating what they have said back to them to ensure that you understand what they are saying.

You are not need to agree with what they are saying, but by demonstrating that you understand how they feel, you are demonstrating to them that you value their opinions.

7. Offer them help in seeking professional support and provide information on ways to do this

You could wish to volunteer to accompany them to the doctor’s office or assist them in speaking with a friend or family member. Make an effort not to take control and instead let them to make decisions for themselves.

8. Know your limits

You will have your own limitations in terms of the amount of assistance that you can supply. It’s also necessary to take care of oneself from time to time. Allocate some time for yourself to rest and analyze what has been spoken to you or what has occurred. Make an effort to assist them in developing a support network of other friends, relatives, and mental health experts who can also assist them. You should keep in mind that if you suspect they are in immediate danger or if they have injuries that require medical treatment, you must act quickly to ensure their safety.

If it is a family member or close friend that you are concerned about, they may not want to speak with you about their concerns.

It is critical to have an open and honest relationship with them while also conveying your concern.

The following is a list of possible options.

How do I respond in a crisis?

Crisis situations for those suffering from mental health disorders might include feeling suicidal or believing they are in a different reality than they actually are. You may be experiencing a sense of crisis as well, but it is critical that you maintain your composure. There are a few broad tactics that you may employ to aid with the process:

  • Consider their needs in the present time and listen without forming assumptions about them. Inquire about what might be of assistance to them. Reassure the audience and direct them to useful information or resources
  • Avoid getting into a fight
  • Inquire if there is anybody they would like you to contact on their behalf. Encourage them to seek expert assistance as soon as possible
  • If they have injured themselves, make sure they receive the first aid they require
  • And

When you see, hear, or believe things that no one else does, you may be experiencing the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition. It may be a terrifying and unpleasant experience. Remind the individual who you are and why you are there in a kind manner. Maintain neutrality and avoid reinforcing or dismissing their feelings, but understand how the symptoms are affecting them.

How do I respond if someone is suicidal?

If someone confides in you that they are contemplating suicide or that they are unable to continue, it is critical that you urge them to get treatment. You or they should get medical attention from a doctor or call NHS 111. They can also get in touch with the Samaritans right once by dialing 116 123 (UK) for free at any time of day or night. They might also seek assistance from their friends, family, or mental health services, among other sources. If you want to, you might inquire about their feelings and inform them that you are willing to listen.

Speaking with someone about your personal feelings is really essential, and the Samaritans may assist you in this endeavor as well.

These are groups of mental health experts who specialize in working with patients who are in a state of acute distress.

Useful organisations and resources

The first person to contact is your primary care physician. They should be able to provide treatment recommendations and may refer you to another local specialist if necessary. See our advice on how to talk to your doctor about your mental health for more information.

Specialist mental health services

Numerous professional services are available to provide a variety of treatments, including counseling and other talking therapies. A community mental health team (CMHT), which is normally housed either in a hospital or at a local community mental health center, is in charge of coordinating these various treatments. Some teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that you may contact them in an emergency. Through your local social services department or social work team, you should be able to get in touch with your local CMHT.


TheSamaritansprovide emotional assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week in complete confidentiality. Call 116 123 or send an email.

Mind Infoline

Mind is open from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday, and provides information on a variety of mental health subjects to help individuals in their local communities. Call (0300 123 3393) or send an email.

Rethink Advice and Information Service

Rethink can give particular solution-based assistance at the following numbers:0300 5000 927E-mail:


A hotline for those suffering from anxiety is operated by Anxiety UK, which is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call 08444 775 774 for further information.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice provides free, impartial, and private advice on a wide range of issues, as well as information on your legal and financial rights and obligations in the United Kingdom.

Step Change

StepChange is a non-profit organization that gives assistance and information to people who are coping with a variety of debt difficulties. Phone (even from mobile phones) 0800 138 1111 or visit the website on for further information.


MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people’s mental health that is available to anybody over the age of 18.

For Friends and Family Members

Mental health concerns may affect anyone at any time. When it comes to a person’s healing process, friends and family may make all the difference.

Supporting a Friend or Family Member with Mental Health Problems

Helping your friend or family member by detecting the indications of mental illness and connecting them with expert assistance may be quite beneficial. It’s possible to give knowledge, support, and direction to friends and family members when they’re talking about mental health issues with them. Learning about mental health concerns can lead to the following outcomes:

  • An improved ability to recognize the earliest indicators of mental health disorders
  • Earlier intervention
  • A greater sense of empathy and understanding

If a friend or family member is exhibiting indications of a mental health condition or has reached out to you for assistance, you can provide assistance by:

  • Determining whether or not the individual is receiving the care that he or she requires and desires—and, if not, putting him or her in touch with those who can assist
  • Expressing your worry and offering your assistance
  • It is important to remind your friend or family member that there is aid available and that mental health problems may be handled. When the subject of mental health difficulties is brought up, it is important to ask questions, listen to thoughts, and respond appropriately. Convey the message that you are concerned about your friend or family member. Helping your friend or family member with routine duties is something you should provide. Inclusiveness of your friend or family member in your plans—continue to invite him or her without being pushy, even if your friend or family member is resistant to your invites
  • And Educating others so that they are aware of the realities concerning mental health disorders and do not discriminate against those who suffer from them
  • People suffering from mental illnesses should be treated with dignity, compassion, and sensitivity.

How to Talk About Mental Health

Do you need assistance in initiating a conversation about mental illness? Try starting with these questions and paying close attention to what your friend or family member has to say in answer to them.

  • I’ve been concerned about your well-being. Is it okay if we talk about what you’re going through? If not, with whom do you feel most comfortable conversing? As a therapist, what can I do to assist you in discussing your concerns with your parents or another responsible adult who is concerned about you
  • How can I be of further assistance to you
  • I am a person that is concerned and wants to hear what you have to say. What information do you want me to know about your current state of mind? Who or what has assisted you in the past while dealing with comparable difficulties
  • Talking with someone who has dealt with a similar situation may be really beneficial. Do you know of anyone else who has dealt with similar issues and with whom you may share your concerns? It appears as though you are going through a difficult period right now. What can I do to assist you in your search for assistance? How can I assist you in locating further information regarding mental health issues
  • I’m concerned about your well-being. Have you ever entertained the idea of hurting yourself or others?

When discussing mental health issues, it is important to remember that:

  • Know how to link individuals who can assist you
  • Ensure that you communicate in a direct manner
  • Speak at a volume appropriate for the person’s age and developmental stage (for example, preschool toddlers require less information than teens)
  • Discuss the subject at a time and place when and where the individual feels secure and comfortable
  • While talking, keep an eye out for reactions from the other person, and slow down or stop talking if they appear puzzled or irritated.

It can be beneficial to draw parallels between mental disease and physical sickness. If you look at it this way, many people become sick with a cold or the flu, but only a small number of people get very ill with something terrible like pneumonia. Patients with a cold may normally carry on with their daily routines without difficulty. If they contract pneumonia, on the other hand, they will have to take medication and may even have to go to the hospital. Similarly, most individuals experience emotions of melancholy, anxiety, concern, anger, or sleep issues at some point in their lives.

And, just as persons with physical problems may need to take medication and seek professional assistance, someone suffering from a mental health problem may need to take medication and/or participate in treatment in order to get well as well.

Get Help for Your Friend or Family Member

A analogy to a physical ailment might be useful in some situations. When someone becomes sick with a cold or the flu, many individuals get sick, but only a small number of people get very ill with anything life-threatening like pneumonia. Patients with a cold may normally carry on with their daily routines without difficulty. However, if they have pneumonia, they will be need to take medication and may even be required to visit a doctor. For the most part, people experience sensations of melancholy, anxiety, worry, anger, and sleep disturbances on a regular basis.

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And, just as persons with physical problems may need to take medication and seek professional assistance, someone suffering from a mental health problem may need to take medication and/or participate in treatment in order to get well.

Language Assistance Available

Friendships are important to us for many reasons, and one of those is emotional support when times are tough. As a result, it is understandable that youth experiencing mental health difficulties would turn to their peers to vent, offload, and ask for support. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between a buddy who is depressed or nervous and a friend who is suffering from something more serious. Finding the right balance between listening and speaking may be difficult. Knowing when to speak and what to say can be difficult.

When it comes to teens, depression and bipolar disorder affect nearly 15 percent of them, and one in every three will meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder by the time they reach the age of 18.

In her role as associate psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, Lindsay Macchia, PhD, explains that “I have a number of students who come to me with presenting problems that are not necessarily their own symptoms.” “Have to feel responsible for their pals as well is having a significant influence on them,” says the author.

Macchia, might range from a buddy who is going through a painful breakup to a quarrel among friends to self-harming or even suicidal thinking and behavior.

As she adds, “rather of turning to a parent who they believe may get upset or terrified,” they turn instead to a friend.

How to be a good friend to someone who is struggling

Give her credit for what she’s saying. It is important for people to feel heard, especially when they are dealing with painful feelings or situations that may make them feel extremely alone. You are under no need to pretend that you are experiencing the same emotions as your friend. Even simply listening without passing judgment and remarking, “That seems difficult,” might be beneficial. “Validation conveys to another individual that their feelings are reasonable in light of the circumstances in which they find themselves,” adds Dr.

  1. If you have never been in that precise scenario or felt an emotion quite as deeply as your buddy, validating him or her demonstrates that this is not a ‘overreaction” or a “underreaction,” she continues.
  2. ” Inquire as to how you may assist.
  3. You might be surprised by what he has to say.
  4. Make an effort to comprehend her limitations.
  5. Continue to inquire, though, and let her know that her firm is respected.
  6. Opening up about mental health difficulties may be extremely tough for people to do at times.
  7. Know, though, that it is perfectly acceptable for him to seek assistance from an adult if he requires it.
  8. While listening is crucial, it is also beneficial to provide some pleasant distractions from time to time.
  9. You could find that sharing what is going on in your life, talking about something you are both interested in, taking a break and going for a walk or practicing yoga with her helps her feel better about herself.

“Whether she is experiencing anxiety, despair, or another feeling that is driving her to want to retreat, encouraging her to participate in stimulating or enjoyable activities is an excellent approach to help her.”

What youdon’tneed to do:

  • What she’s saying should be supported. It is important for people to feel heard, especially when they are dealing with tough feelings or situations that may make them feel extremely isolated. If you aren’t feeling the same way as your friend, there is no need to pretend. Sometimes all it takes is to simply listen without passing judgment and remark, “That seems difficult.” Doctor Macchia states that validation is the process of communicating to another person that their feelings are reasonable in the environment in which they are experiencing them. Invalidating your friend’s reaction, even though you have never been in that scenario or felt an emotion nearly that intensely, demonstrates that this is neither a ‘overreaction’ nor a ‘underreaction.” They are entitled to express themselves in whichever way they like. See if there’s anything you can do to assist. In addition to demonstrating your concern, it removes some of the uncertainty. You might be surprised by what he has to say. If he doesn’t have a response ready right away, it may prompt him to start thinking more proactively about the situation. Be considerate of her abilities and constraints. You shouldn’t expect, for example, a melancholy buddy to accompany you on all of your invitations to socialize. Continue to inquire, and make her know that her firm is respected. Glibbing is not allowed! Opening out about mental health issues can be extremely tough for people to do. It is important to respect a friend’s confidence and not provide more information than he would want. If he requires assistance, he should be aware that it is OK to seek assistance from an adult. Change the conversation’s topic to something more interesting. Providing a pleasant break from the conversation is crucial, but it also helps to listen. Everything you say regarding your friend’s mental health does not have to be about him or her at all times. You could find that sharing what is going on in your life, talking about something you are both interested in, taking a break and going for a walk or practicing yoga with her helps her feel better overall. As Dr. Macchia points out, “engaging in positive, pleasurable activities (even when she isn’t sure she wants to!) can also help to lift her spirits.” It doesn’t matter if she is suffering from worry, despair, or another emotion
  • Encouraging her to participate in energetic or enjoyable activities is a terrific approach to help her.”

Always keep in mind that you are never totally responsible for the mental health of another individual. You could feel guilty, and your buddy might even try to make you feel like you’re the only one who understands and can help, but that isn’t the case. Instead, you should focus on yourself. Sometimes, as a friend, the greatest thing you can do is stand aside and let your buddy to begin receiving assistance from one of the specialists who have received specialized training in mental health difficulties.

Even if you want to, you won’t be able to offer him with the aid he requires.

When to turn to an adult

Whether a buddy is dumping a large amount of heavy equipment on you, it might be difficult to determine when it is appropriate to seek assistance from an adult — such as a school counselor or a parent — for assistance. As a general rule, it is preferable to be safe than sorry. Dr. Macchia recommends keeping an eye out for the following signs:

  • If you have any worries regarding your child’s safety, you should speak with an adult. The importance of seeking help if your friend is injuring herself, talking about hurting herself, or showing signs that she might harm others cannot be overstated. You should seek help immediately if you suspect a friend has developed an eating disorder. Eating disorders are a serious health threat, and the longer you have one the more difficult it is to recover. In the event that a friend appears to be having a psychotic break — that is, she has hallucinations or believes things that aren’t true — she requires immediate assistance to avoid harming herself. If the situation appears to be more adult than you should be dealing with, it’s probably time to seek advice from a responsible adult. In the event that you have any sort of gut feeling or reaction that something doesn’t feel right, that you think I might be too young for this information — or that you think another person should be taking on a part of this responsibility — it is critical that you speak with someone at school or directly with the teen’s parents, says Dr. Macchia. If the weight of this connection is having a negative influence on your mental health, you should get help from an adult immediately. No matter whether you’re experiencing increased anxiety, exhibiting signs of depression, or contemplating self-harm, it’s imperative that you seek professional help for both yourself and your friend.

How to get help without betraying your friend

One of the most difficult obstacles to obtaining assistance is the fear of betraying a friend who has placed their faith in you with sensitive information. The assurance comes from Dr. Macchia, who says there is a method to go about it without tattling on the subject. “It’s all about being upfront and honest,” says the author. The following are some points to bear in mind while you discuss the matter with your friend:

  • Explain why you believe it is time to bring in a responsible adult. Inform them as to why you are worried and that you believe it is time to seek extra assistance — since you are concerned
  • Dr. Macchia believes that offering to be there for the chat with the adult may be beneficial or appropriate depending on the scenario. According to Dr. Macchia, “I don’t want them to ever feel like they have to do this,” but “depending on the circumstance, they may say I feel like I can support my buddy while simultaneously acting as a buffer and have that talk as well.”

Dr. Macchia points out that it may be particularly difficult if your buddy has a mental health problem and requests you not to tell an adult about it, even after you have articulated your worries and the reasons for your desire to do so. It may be difficult to deal with this, and it is understandable that you would want to keep your connection intact as much as possible, she adds. “Having said that, your friend’s safety and well-being must come first,” the doctor says. If you are experiencing difficulty, Dr.

Nevertheless, she advises, “remind yourself that it is understandable to be concerned about your friend’s reaction to your informing an adult, and that you are doing what you believe to be best for them, yourself, and your friendship in the long term.”

The importance of self-care

Even while it is easy to become emotionally involved in a friend’s troubles, it is important not to cross the line between being a helpful friend and going too far. In Dr. Macchia’s words, if you’ve been “parentified” or feel like you’re a therapist, you may have passed a boundary; it might feel like you’re shouldering a crushing amount of duty. The doctor explains that “on the one side there’s concern, fear, and grief about what is going on in your friend’s life,” but “there may also be an impact in terms of taking on another person’s symptoms as well,” adds Dr.

  1. Eventually, you may find yourself adopting some of their sentiments as well as some of their harmful coping strategies.
  2. If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or despair, are withdrawing from activities that you normally like, or are contemplating self-harm, it is recommended that you get professional assistance.
  3. It might also be beneficial to talk to your parents.
  4. Macchia tells teenagers to “concentrate your focus on activities that offer you pleasure.” She believes that if you enjoy dancing, you should continue to do so.

Yoga, going for a run, getting a massage, or even going shopping are all examples of self-care activities – whatever makes you happy is OK. At the end of the day, it’s crucial to be a good friend, but it’s difficult to be a good friend if you’re not looking after yourself first.

Supporting a Friend or Family Member with a Mental Illness

When someone you care about is unwell, it may be frightening. It might be particularly frightening if they have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. It’s difficult to witness someone you care about suffering, and it’s perplexing when someone you know does not behave in the way you expect them to. You know what to do if your loved one is suffering from a cold or the flu, but what do you do if they are suffering from mental illness? Someone suffering from a mental illness requires more love and support, just as anyone suffering from any other medical condition does.

How can I help?

Support from family and friends is proven to be an important component in helping someone who is suffering from a mental illness, according to research. Practical and emotional assistance are provided through this network of support. Parents, children, siblings, spouses or partners, extended relatives, close friends, and those who care about us, such as neighbours, coworkers, coaches, and instructors, may all form part of our support network. Some people have more extensive networks than others, but the majority of us have at least a few people who are willing to help us when we are in need of assistance.

Families and friends are frequently the first to discover when anything is amiss with a loved one.

Finding a therapy that is effective is typically a matter of trial and error, and family members may be the first to see indications of change in their loved one.

How do I do this?
  • TIP: Become better familiar with the signs and symptoms of various mental diseases. Understand how therapies operate so that you will be aware of any side effects that may occur, when to look for improvements, and which symptoms to check for first. Recent research discovered that when the family is taught about the condition, recurrence rates in their loved ones are lowered by half within the first year.

When it comes to seeking treatment, family and friends may be invaluable advocates in assisting loved ones through the difficult early stages of a mental illness. They can assist their loved one in determining which treatment is most appropriate for them. Furthermore, they can be critical in communicating with specialists about what is going on, filling in the gaps that may not be visible to those who are unwell or who are unable to express their condition themselves.

How do I do this?
  • Provide assistance in scheduling those initial meetings with a family doctor to determine what’s wrong, or accompany your loved one to the doctor—these steps might be difficult if your loved one doesn’t have a lot of energy or has difficulty concentrating. If you do decide to accompany the individual, collaborate with them to jot down any notes or questions either of you may have in advance so that you can cover all of the important topics in the conversation. Assuming your loved one choose to do it alone, express your support and inquire as to whether there is anything you can do to assist him or her. TIP: It is not always possible to prevent a mental health crisis from occurring. If your loved one has to be admitted to the hospital, attempt to persuade them to do so on their own initiative. If you have reason to believe that a loved one is in danger of harming themselves, they may be eligible for treatment under the Mental Health Act of British Columbia. In certain situations, it may be required, but involuntary therapy can be difficult and upsetting for everyone involved in the process. If you’d want to learn more about the Mental Health Act, check out the fact sheet “Coping with Mental Health Crises and Emergencies.”

Provide assistance in scheduling those initial meetings with a family doctor to determine what’s wrong, or accompany your loved one to the doctor—these steps might be difficult if your loved one doesn’t have a lot of energy or has difficulty paying attention. You should collaborate with the individual you are accompanying to jot down any notes or questions you may have in advance so that you can cover all of the important themes. If your loved one prefers to go it alone, express your support and inquire as to if there is anything you can do to assist them.

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Whenever a loved one requires hospitalization, attempt to persuade them to make the trip yourself.

The use of involuntary therapy may be essential in some situations, but it may be difficult and stressful for everyone involved. See the “Coping with Mental Health Crises and Emergencies” info page for further information about the Mental Health Act.

How do I do this?
  • TIP: If you see that a loved one is having difficulty taking their prescription, you may urge them to speak with their doctor or pharmacist about their concerns. They can provide suggestions on how to make medication taking more convenient. If your loved one is experiencing any additional difficulties while taking medication, such as side effects, urge them to write down their concerns and questions and to consult with their doctor. Identify whether or not they have a positive relationship with their doctor and assist them in finding a new one. If money is a concern, read about Plan G, which provides no-cost psychiatric drug coverage in British Columbia.

Supporting a healthy lifestyle: Families may also assist with day-to-day issues such as economics, problem-solving, housing, diet, recreation and exercise, and maintaining normal sleeping patterns.

How do I do this?
  • PREMIUM TIP: Visit our Wellness Modules for practical advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for both you and your loved one. Local mental health centers may include case managers and peer support workers who may assist with life skills training as well as links to income and housing resources.

Providing emotional support: You may make a significant difference in making someone who isn’t feeling well feel less alone and embarrassed of their situation. They are not to blame for their condition, but they may believe that they are, or they may be receiving messages to that effect from other people. You may contribute to the promotion of hope.

How do I do this?
  • RECOMMENDATION: Make every effort to be as understanding, helpful, and patient as possible. Resources on how to be an effective communicator may be found in our “Where do I go from here?” section. TIP: Taking care of a sick family member or friend may be a difficult experience for everyone involved. Keep in mind that you will require emotional assistance as well. Consider becoming a member of a family support group for persons who are suffering from mental illness. There, you can make connections with other individuals who are going through similar experiences, and they can assist you in processing your own feelings. It is really vital to ensure that you are also taking care of your own mental health.

How do I know when to help?

TIP: Try to be as understanding, helpful, and patient as you possibly can. You may find tools on how to communicate effectively in our “Where do I proceed from here?” section. Caregiving for a sick family member or friend may be a difficult experience. Keep in mind that you will want emotional support as well as physical assistance. Attend a support group for family members of those suffering from mental illnesses. The group provides an opportunity to connect with other people who are going through similar experiences, and they may assist you in working through your own feelings.

  • They abruptly lose interest in hobbies and other pursuits that they used to like
  • They become despondent. They appear to be enraged or depressed for seemingly no apparent cause
  • They don’t appear to be interested in anything anymore
  • People who have reported hearing weird voices or experiencing uncomfortable thoughts are more likely to tell you about them. These people appear to be emotionally numb, as though they don’t feel anything any longer
  • They used to be in good health, but now they’re always complaining about feeling unwell
  • They consume significantly more or less than they did previously
  • There has been a shift in their sleep patterns. Their anxiety or fear over circumstances or items in life that appear normal to you and others appears to be irrational to them. They’ve been absent from job or school for an increasing amount of time. They’ve been consuming copious amounts of alcohol and/or abusing drugs in order to cope
  • These people are contemplating suicide or are depressed
  • They are hopeless. They are avoiding their close friends and family members
  • They are avoiding the media.

To be patient, kind, and understanding during Tom’s recuperation has been a test of strength. We take one stride forward and two steps back; baby steps—small increments of achievement, minor improvements of things we would typically take for granted—are something we should be grateful for and should be celebrated. Every grin, every cracked joke, every declaration of want to go for a run are positive, hopeful signals that Tom is making progress. “Baby steps ahead,” says Tom. —A member of the family from the Family Toolkit “The most essential thing you have to do is embrace yourself entirely, with all of your flaws,” says the therapist.

—Mariam, a 31-year-old woman who is recovering from severe depression Top

Where do I go from here?

A variety of services are available to you if you want guidance on how to get your loved one the assistance they require. Other useful resources include the following: Information about mental health and addictions in British Columbia is provided by BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions. Visit the website for information sheets and personal tales on how to help loved ones. You’ll also discover more information, recommendations, and self-tests to assist you in better understanding a variety of mental health issues.

  1. AnxietyBC For information, techniques, and community resources on anxiety, contact 604-525-7566 or visit
  2. The British Columbia Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association For information and community resources on mental health and mental diseases, contact 1-800-555-8222 (toll-free in British Columbia) or 604-688-3234 (in Greater Vancouver) or visit
  3. To obtain information and services to assist parents of a child or adolescent who has a mental illness, please visit or contact 1-855-887-8004 (toll-free in BC) or 604-878-3400 (in the Lower Mainland).
  4. For information and resources on body image and the prevention of eating disorders, call 1-888-988-5281 ext.
  5. 204 (in Greater Vancouver).
  6. Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia Resources and information about mood disorders can be obtained by calling 604-873-0103 (in the Lower Mainland) or 1-855-282-7979 (in the rest of British Columbia).
  7. There are resources accessible in a variety of languages: * If English is not your first language, you must declare the name of your chosen language in English in order to be connected to an interpreter for each service listed below.

1-800-SUICIDE If you are in difficulty or are concerned about someone who is in distress and may harm yourself, contact 1-800-SUICIDE (the suicide prevention hotline). Connecting to a BC crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no wait time or busy signal.

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Every day, we ask inquiries like “how are you?” and “how are you doing?” Additionally, “what’s up?” is used to greet pals in the hall, react to emails, and post messages on Facebook walls. However, how often do we receive meaningful replies to those inquiries that tell us how our friends are actually doing in their lives? If you have a friend who is experiencing emotional difficulties, is not coping well, or is abusing drugs or alcohol to cope, it is crucial to recognize that untreated emotional health problems can have major implications.

When asked who they would turn to for support if they were experiencing emotional distress, the majority of respondents said their friends are their most trusted source of assistance.

Would you know what to do in this situation?

How to Tell if a Friend is Struggling

Questions such as “how are you?” are asked on a daily basis. as well as “what’s up?” as a means of saying “hello” while passing pals in the hall, responding to emails, and posting on Facebook pages. The point is, how frequently do we receive meaningful replies to those queries that tell us how our friends are truly doing? If you have a friend who is experiencing emotional difficulties, is not coping well, or is abusing drugs or alcohol to cope, it is crucial to remember that untreated emotional health problems can have major implications.

A survey found that when people are asked who they would turn to for support if they are experiencing emotional discomfort, the majority of respondents said their friends.

What would you do if you were in this situation.

  • Depression or apathy that makes it difficult to fulfill responsibilities or participate in social activities
  • Poor problem-solving abilities in the face of everyday difficulties, as well as strong reactions to particular events
  • Insomnia and compulsive behavior (such as excessive spending or promiscuous sexual activity) are common during extreme highs known as mania. Anxiety or worry that is extreme
  • Feelings of despondency or pessimism on a consistent basis Increased use of alcoholic beverages or illicit substances
What Can You Do?

It is typically determined by your relationship with a friend or classmate who is exhibiting indicators of emotional discomfort or a possible issue how you respond to them. Given your long-standing relationship and connection with the individual, you may be an important source of support and feel comfortable talking with your buddy about how they are feeling about their situation. If the individual who is struggling is someone you have only recently met, such as a roommate or a student, your job may entail informing someone else about the situation.

Your responsibility is to be supportive and urge them to seek help from family, friends, a counseling center, or another medical professional as a first step – even if you are unsure of the nature or severity of the problem or how to address it.

Even if they suggest that the best course of action is to “back off” or ignore the situation, it is critical that you do not do so: Allow them to succeed by making up for whatever commitments that have been overlooked.

Remember that many emotional problems require professional care and are not something people can heal on their own.

Don’t back down on the significance of obtaining treatment. If you believe it is vital to inform someone else about the situation without your friend’s permission, you may feel as if you are going behind his or her back.

What to Say to a Friend Who’s Struggling

Taking on the weight of a friend who is experiencing emotional anguish may be highly difficult and taxing; thus, it is important to acknowledge your own limitations and to look after your own emotional well-being. When we meet someone who appears to be depressed, angry, or nervous, our first inclination is to inquire as to what is wrong. Someone who is suffering with a mental health condition, on the other hand, may have particular thoughts or sensations that are not tied to a specific circumstance or occurrence.

Even though you may not be able to comprehend what your buddy is going through, and it may seem uncomfortable or difficult to discuss personal and emotional concerns with them, you can listen and assure them that they are not alone.

  • We’ve all been through difficult times. Because asking for help might be perceived as a show of weakness, you can comfort your buddy by sharing a story about a time when you or someone you know suffered and needed support
  • You will feel better as a result of your conversation. Your buddy may be feeling hopeless or as if no one understands or can assist them, so it’s crucial to help them realize that seeking out for support is the first step toward feeling better in their own right. Once detected, mental health problems are curable and managed
  • Therefore, we may require a mental checkup in the same way that we would require other physical checkups
  • It is perfectly acceptable to seek assistance. It’s important to remember that our upbringings, cultures, and life events may all have a significant influence on our attitudes on requesting assistance. Getting treatment or consulting with a mental health professional may be frowned upon or regarded as weak in some families or cultural traditions. Considering the reasons why a friend might be hesitant to seek assistance might be helpful in determining how to advise that they call out for assistance

If you have reason to believe that a friend is contemplating harming themselves or someone else, it is critical that you do not attempt to resolve the situation on your own. Instead, seek help. You can get help by calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, visiting your school’s counseling center, or speaking with a mental health professional in your area.

  • To report an emergency threat of harm on campus, dial 215-572-2999 for the Arcadia University Public Safety Emergency line. Counseling Services can also be contacted or visited in person. When Counseling Services is closed, call Public Safety at 215-572-2999
  • If you are off campus when the problem occurs, dial 911
  • If you are on campus when the crisis occurs, dial 911
  • If you are off campus when the issue occurs, dial 911

How to Help a Friend

You may get additional information on how to communicate about mental health with a buddy on the website Seize The Awkward.

Helping a Loved One Cope with a Mental Illness

Topics Across the Board The experience of seeing a loved one struggle with the symptoms of mental illness may be extremely challenging and heartbreaking. And it might be difficult to know how to effectively assist and support your loved one in these situations. Considering that every person is unique and that every scenario is distinct, Alternatively, you may be concerned about the way a person has been speaking and behaving, regardless of whether they have an official diagnosis. It is possible that you are familiar with your loved one and know what strategy or assistance will be most beneficial for him or her.

Know the warning signs of mental health problems

For example, retreat from social engagement, exceptional difficulties functioning at school, at work, or in social activities, as well as drastic changes in sleep and food, are all possible indicators of depression. Warning Signs of Mental Illness. Someone displaying these indicators or having these experiences does not necessarily have a mental health condition; the symptoms might be be due to other concerns or problems, such as a physical illness. Following up with a medical practitioner, on the other hand, might assist treat any issues that have arisen and avoid more serious symptoms from emerging in the future.

Getting started, approaching the issue

One of the most difficult and crucial tasks may be just initiating the discussion with the other person. It is not necessary to be an expert or to have all of the answers. Express your care for the individual and your readiness to listen and be there for him or her. Don’t be hesitant to bring it up in conversation. Reassure them that you are concerned about them and that you are available to help them. Make use of the pronoun “I.” When expressing concern about someone, use phrases such as “I am concerned about you.,” “I would want you to consider talking with a counselor.” rather than “You are.” or “You should.” Try to be patient and loving with them, and refrain from passing judgment on their beliefs and behaviors.

Assist them in making an appointment with a mental health professional, or with their primary care physician if that is more comfortable for them.

Suppose they were concerned about diabetes or high blood pressure. Would they be inclined to seek medical attention for these conditions? Remind them that reaching out for assistance is a show of strength.

Learn about Mental Health Conditions and Treatments

Learn as much as you can. The more you know about medical illnesses, symptoms, available treatments, and what to expect, the more you will be able to help your loved one in their time of need. However, you should use caution when relying on internet sources of information. The quality of information available on the internet varies greatly depending on the subject matter. (See the resources section for further information.)

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Help address potential barriers

Make an effort to foresee and assist the individual requesting assistance in overcoming any potential obstacles. For example, look into what services are available in your area to assist you. Create convenience for the person by investigating possible therapists, their hours of operation, their locations, and any insurance-related concerns. If you believe there may be obstacles, you should address any concerns you have about transportation, childcare, communication techniques with an employer, and so on.

Seek support for yourself

While you’re concentrating on assisting your loved one, it’s equally crucial to remember to look after yourself – both physically and emotionally. If you are in need of assistance, seek it out for yourself. Recognize and accept the limitations of your ability to offer. Blogger Victoria Maxwell has written the following: “When my mother was unwell, suffering from severe depression, mania, and anxiety, I was both concerned and outraged about her well-being. I wanted someone outside of the family with whom I could openly express my concerns and hurt without fear of offending her or causing her distress.

  1. NAMI offers a training program for families (Family to Family) as well as continuous peer-led support groups for family members who are suffering from mental illness.
  2. It is an evidence-based program taught by family members who have gone through it themselves and have been educated by NAMI.
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for family members, carers, and loved ones of those living with mental illness.
  4. Find a NAMI Family Support Group in your area by clicking here.

Expectations and Collaboration

It is critical to have reasonable expectations for yourself. Generally speaking, recovery is not a straightforward process; there will almost certainly be gains as well as setbacks along the road. If your family member gives you permission, you can collaborate with their treatment team to assist them in providing assistance. Even if you believe your actions and support are not making a difference, your actions and support are almost certainly making a difference for your friend or relative. It is possible that your loved one is in pain and does not understand or appreciate what you are doing, or that they are unable to show gratitude.

However, knowing that you are there for them may be quite beneficial in their rehabilitation. If you believe a loved one is in imminent danger of harming yourself or others, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). (8255).


  • Being realistic with your expectations is critical. Generally speaking, recovery is not a straightforward process
  • There will almost certainly be both positive and negative developments along the road. Working with their treatment team to give assistance is possible with the approval of your family member. While you may believe your efforts and support are ineffective, they are almost certainly making a difference in the lives of your friend or relative. A wounded loved one might not realize or appreciate what you’re doing, or they might be unable to show gratitude. However, just knowing that you are there for them may be quite beneficial in their healing process. Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK if you believe a loved one is in danger of harming yourself or others (8255).
  • Information about illnesses and treatments
  • Clinical trials
  • And other resources.
  • Information on illnesses and treatments
  • Clinical trials
  • And other resources
  • Clinical Trials
  • Information about illnesses and therapies
  • Support groups
  • Assisting someone who is suffering from a mood problem


  • “Tips for Assisting a Loved One Seek Mental Health Care, From the Person Who Assists Me.” Simms, K. “Tips for Assisting a Loved One Seek Mental Health Care,” from the person who assisted me. The is a website that provides information on many topics.

How to support a friend or family member who’s struggling with their mental health

Alamy In the same way that every one of us has physical health, each and every one of us also has mental health. Despite the widespread incidence of mental health issues, there is still a great deal of stigma attached to them. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the biggest cause of disability around the world, and roughly one in every five persons in the United States suffers from a mental health condition. The issue “How can I help a loved one who is dealing with their mental health?” comes up frequently for me as a mental health therapist-in-training and the creator of Brown Girl Therapy, the biggest mental health community for children of immigrants living in the Western world.

For example, you may have seen a change in a friend’s conduct or demeanor and are concerned, or you may be witnessing a family member disclose for the first time that they are suffering with anxiety.

When you’re caring for someone who is battling with their mental health, there are eight things you should do and eight things you should avoid doing at all costs.

DO listen and validate

Keep an open mind regarding what your buddy is going through and how it is affecting them. Open-ended inquiries, such as “What’s going on?” or “How long have you been experiencing this?” or “How are you dealing,” should be used instead of yes-or-no questions to encourage others to share their experiences with you. When they react, use affirming comments that will help them feel heard and accepted for who they are, regardless of their background. When dealing with mental health issues, many people find themselves blaming or judging themselves for what they’re going through; others may believe that their troubles are unjustified since they’re all “in their heads.” Even if you are unable to fully comprehend or connect to their emotions or experiences, you want to convey to your loved one that they are entirely fine — — this can be as easy as stating “That sounds incredibly difficult.” Everyone’s definition of support is different, and what you may require while you’re hurting may be very different from what someone else requires.

DO ask what they need from you

“How can I best assist you?” or “What would be beneficial to you right now?” are two questions you should ask your loved one directly rather than making assumptions about what they need. Remember that everyone’s definition of support is different, and what you may require when you’re struggling may not be the same as what someone else requires when they’re going through a difficult period.

DO offer to help with everyday tasks

Lots of individuals who are struggling with their mental health may find it extremely difficult to make even the most fundamental decisions or to complete even the most mundane of tasks. Make a point of being precise about what you’re providing rather than using the general statement “I’m here if you need me,” so that your buddy doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of reaching out or figuring out what they need in the first place. When you pay them a visit, have a look around and see if there is anything you can help them with, such as doing the dishes, weeding, cleaning, or folding the clothes.

If you speak with them, offer to accompany them to a doctor’s appointment or to do errands for them at the grocery store or drugstore; you may even try giving them a gift card to cover the cost of their meals.

DO celebrate their wins, including the small ones

Each and every day can be difficult for someone who is battling with their mental health in one way or another. So congratulate them on their achievements and successes. This might assist them in reaffirming their sentiments of agency and effectiveness. Thanks for being so honest and open with you, or complimenting them on going to work or bringing their dog for regular walks are examples of how you might express your appreciation to them. Many people who are struggling with their mental health already have a basic degree of guilt for interfering with other people’s time, energy, and mental space on a regular basis.

DO read up on what they’re struggling with

Each and every day might be difficult for someone who is battling with their mental health. Consequently, congratulate them on their successes. Having a sense of agency and efficacy might help them feel more empowered. Thanks for being so honest and open with you, or complimenting them on going to work or bringing their dog for regular walks are examples of how you might express your gratitude to someone else. There is a foundation degree of guilt for many people who are struggling with their mental health since they are a burden on other people’s time, energy and mental space.

DO check in with them regularly

Many people who are struggling with their mental health already have a basic degree of guilt for interfering with other people’s time, energy, and mental space on a regular basis. Check in with them on a regular basis (a brief text message is good), keep them company when you can, and tell your buddy that you care about them and that you are on their side.

DO recognize that not all mental health struggles look the same

Not all mental health difficulties or mental diseases have the same physical manifestations. Some people may be experiencing difficulties as a result of a certain incident or scenario, whilst others may be suffering from a persistent mental disease. You should not expect your loved one to “get over” it as quickly as they would if they had the flu or a broken bone if the latter is the case. Meet them where they are and tell them that you realize that this is something they have to deal with on a daily basis.

It’s critical that we erase the stigma associated with taking care of our mental health and that we talk about it in the same way that we would talk about visiting a doctor for a physical disease.

DO normalize talking about mental health

It is important that you do not wait for them to bring up their difficulties or that you are honest with them. It’s critical that we eliminate the stigma associated with taking care of our mental health and talk about it in the same way we would talk about visiting a doctor or taking medication for a physical ailment, because it’s crucial that we do.

You may even consider opening up and being vulnerable when talking about your own mental health so that your loved one doesn’t feel judged and can be honest with you instead of feeling judged by others. Now for the do’s and don’ts:

DON’T compare their experience to others

I really want to emphasize one point: everyone’s mental health challenges and mental health diseases are experienced in their own unique way. In an attempt to make a loved one feel better, you may be tempted to remind them that “everyone has anxiety from time to time” or to bring up a friend who had the same condition but had benefitted from a certain technique, treatment, or therapy. Refrain from succumbing to this temptation. The unexpected consequence of saying those things is that they can make people feel less alone by normalizing their experience.

Keeping them reminded of what they have or should be grateful for is another thing to avoid doing.

Stay away from stigmatizing terms such as “mad” or “cuckoo,” and refrain from saying things such as “that’s so OCD” or “take some Xanax.”

DON’T use stigmatizing language

Be cautious about how you discuss mental health with your buddy (and in general!). When talking about mental illness, avoid using stigmatizing terms such as “crazy” or “cuckoo,” as well as using clinical diagnoses or medications in a casual manner — for example, saying “that’s so OCD” when someone is extremely organized, or telling someone to “take a Xanax” when you want them to relax. You should double-check your own assumptions about mental health concerns, professional mental health treatment, and medicines to ensure that you are not causing your loved one undue distress.

DON’T take their behavior personally

People’s mental health difficulties are frequently not linear or predictable in their progression. One day, your friend may be less communicative than usual, and your sister may be constantly canceling your phone dates. You should not instantly assume that their behaviors are a reflection of how your loved one feels about you, despite the fact that you may be wounded or offended by them. Instead, take advantage of their indications to check in on them, ask what you can do to assist them, and remind them that you are always available to them whenever and wherever they need you.

DON’T be confrontational or try to control the situation

When faced with a loved one who is in agony or discomfort, it may be extremely difficult to refrain from putting yourself in the metaphorical driver’s seat and doing what you believe will alleviate their suffering. However, by doing so, you are undermining their feeling of autonomy and independence. You want to be there for your loved one while they navigate their own difficulties, not to guide or push them in a particular direction. Do not be forceful in telling them what they should or should not do, and do not set them deadlines or other deadlines.

DON’T get discouraged

While assisting and supporting a loved one who is experiencing difficulties, you may feel useless if you don’t see any change in their situation.

Just though you are feeling powerless does not rule out the possibility of being of assistance. Your loved one does not want you to provide them with the ideal solution or to be flawless; instead, they simply require you to be there for them.

DON’T burn yourself out trying to support your loved one

The more you take care of yourself, the better you will be able to help your family member or friend. Make sure to continue to take care of yourself, to engage in activities you enjoy, and to recharge your own batteries while caring for your loved one. Create boundaries that are both clear and straightforward, and find methods to honor the things that you must do in order to be able to show up for them. Individuals who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health are not damaged, and they do not require fixing.

DON’T try to fix them

Individuals who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health are not damaged, and they do not require fixing. When you rush in with answers and advice while they haven’t expressly asked for it, you’re sending them the message that what they’re going through is wrong or awful, when in reality you’re projecting your own discomfort with what they’re going through on their behalf. Recognize that your want to get into a fix-it mentality may actually be a coping technique designed to soothe and absolve your own discomfort or tension; thus, resist the urge.

DON’T avoid the feelings that come up foryou

Seeing our loved ones struggling with anything unpleasant, chronic or difficult to fathom may sometimes bring up our own painful sentiments, as well as our own discomfort or anxiety, as we watch them struggle. When this occurs, it is critical not to brush the situation under the rug. Spend some time thinking about what’s going to happen next for you. You might want to ask yourself any of the following questions: Are you tense because you’re worried about what’s going to happen to a loved one that you care about?

Do you have any prejudices or stigmas about mental illness that you want to share with others?

If so, this article is for you.

Don’t be embarrassed if you discover that you may benefit from some assistance or expert treatment.

Now is a good time to see Sahaj Kaur Kohli’s TED Talk:

  • Sahaj kaur kohli, advice, mental health, mental disease, relationships, etc.

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