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I’m worried about someone’s mental health – what do I do?

It can be hard to know what to do if you’re worried about someone’s mental health. You’ll be scared of making things worse if you jump straight in, but you also won’t want to stand back and do nothing.

Talking about mental health can be difficult, and you might not know where to start, or how to approach it with the person you’re worried about. But, if someone is struggling, sometimes just being there for them and showing you care is enough.

Let’s take a look at what to keep in mind and what to do when someone is struggling with mental health.

Be a good listener

It can be hard for people to open up about their mental health, so it’s important that you listen carefully if someone feels comfortable talking to you about it. You might want to offer possible solutions to the person’s problems, but this isn’t always helpful – sometimes, just listening is enough. Ask if there is anything specific you can do to help, and reassure them that you are there for them.


Talk in a safe and calm space

We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, so make sure you do so in a safe and calm environment, whether this be at home, in a quiet café, or going out for a walk. Making space to have a meaningful conversation with someone can make all the difference.


Avoid phrases that can reinforce mental health stigma

We all feel down from time to time, but saying that you feel depressed when you feel a bit sad is very different to actually living with depression every day. See this webpage for more advice on language and phrases when talking about mental health.


Let them go at their own pace

Try and let them lead the conversation, and don’t pressure them to share anything they don’t want to. Go gentle with them – you might be the first person they have opened up to.


Ask them if there is anything you can do to help

You could offer help with things such as housework, cooking, childcare, or accompanying them to an appointment.


What do I do if it’s an emergency?

If the person has harmed themselves and needs medical attention, has suicidal thoughts, or is putting themselves or someone else in danger, they need urgent help.

If they are not safe to be on their own, call 999 and stay with them, or take them to A&E. Call 111 for advice if it’s not an emergency.

You can also signpost them to organisations such as Samaritan’s (call 116 123).


For more advice on talking about mental health, see this webpage from the Mental Health Foundation.

A couple n a cafe

Published date:

13th December 2023

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