TIPS TO SUPPORT SOMEONE IN NEED
Seeing someone you know struggle with mental health concerns can be difficult. It is important for you to assist in the manner that you can while maintaining appropriate boundaries regarding your role in it. As always, if you or someone you know is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or others, please call 911 for immediate assistance. Signs of these behaviors can be found here.
Become familiar with signs of mental health conditions. It is important to educate yourself regarding mental health symptoms. While you are not a mental health professional, you could potentially identify things that can assist with the individual recognizing they need support. Some signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions can be found here.
Be honest, not accusatory. Individuals suffering from mental health conditions might be the last to recognize it. When you notice something, say something to them in a helpful manner. Asking if someone is okay is one way to approach it, however, you may get a better response if you say, "I believe I've notice you having a difficult time (give an example). I just wanted you to know that I'm here for you if you need me to help or just want someone to listen". This gives the individual space to feel seen, but also reduces shame.
Choose the right location & tone. It's important to give someone space to share in a location that is free from distraction and potentially putting them on the spot. Not prying into details is important and being aware of your tone is also important. Feeling put on the spot or like they have done something wrong, can cause someone to shut down.
Listen. Sometimes it is best to be silent when someone is sharing something with you. You don't have to have the answers, you can just be present with them in that moment. Your goal in the situation is to assist them and that might be exactly what they need at that moment.
Know your role. We do not like to see those who we love to suffer, and we will do all that we can to help them. However, we need to let those who have the training or resources to do what is needed. If you feel that the conversation is going in a manner that is beyond your role, support then seeking services from those who can assist. Tips for finding a therapist can be found here.
Online Resources to Helping Someone in Need