Helping Someone Else

Tips for helping someone who’s dealing with mental health issues

DO:

  • Trust your instincts that something is the matter
  • Act sooner rather than later
  • Start a conversation - How to start a difficult conversation
  • Be direct and honest; talk openly
  • Listen without judgment
  • Express your concern
  • Ask what you can do to help - the littlest things like a text or cuppa can do wonders
  • Show empathy
  • Take care of yourself, stay safe
  • Accept that some days they may not be up to making decisions, don’t pressure them
  • Be patient, learning to manage a long term condition may take a while
  • Have confidence that your friend can recover or learn manage their illness
  • Equip yourself and your friend with useful contacts (see the end of this booklet)
  • Be positive; encourage your friend to utilise the support available
  • Continue to invite your friend over or out for walks, activities and fun, even if they often decline
  • Remind them when they have a bad day that like all things, it will pass
  • Encourage your friend to eat healthily
  • Encourage a routine of daytime activity and avoiding sleep during the day so they can better sleep at night
  • Inform the University if they are unable to attend
  • Contact appropriate support agencies, both for yourself and your friend
     

DON'T:

  • Ignore warning signs
  • Keep a planned suicide attempt secret
  • Be afraid to talk to a professional
  • Label or pigeonhole the person
  • Be dismissive or use insensitive language to categorise bizarre behaviour
  • Lecture or treat them like a child
  • Take over your friend’s life, even if they are willing to let you
  • Avoid the concern or issue
  • Enable ‘self-medication’ with the use of alcohol or other substances
  • Give up or get discouraged
  • Get angry
  • Tell your friend to ‘snap out of it’
  • Belittle your friend’s concerns
  • Joke about the situation
  • Rely on medication alone as a solution, this works best within a framework of support
  • Overextend yourself
  • Put yourself at risk
  • Disregard the advice of mental health professionals
  • Manage the situation alone
  • Sign the register for your friend to cover for their absence