Trust and respect

If you’re worried about the mental health of a family member or close friend, try gently explaining why you’re concerned. It is very important to build trust and respect. This can also help you to cope better if you can see the positive impact that your support is having on the person you care about.


Try to be non-judgemental and listen to the person. Do not tell the person to ‘pull yourself together’; ‘just get on with it’; ‘cheer up’; ‘I’m sure it’ll pass’ – it will not help.

  • Find a good time to talk when there are no pressures or interruptions
  • Tell them about things they have said or done recently that are worrying you in a gentle manner
  • Try to avoid the urge to give advice or problem-solve immediately. Instead, let them talk and reassure them that problems with mental health are common and treatable
  • Someone experiencing a mental health problem often knows best what’s helpful for them.

Ask how you can help

  • Suggest options and ask them what they would like to do. 
  • They might like to talk to a health professional, or simply find a trusted friend or family member that they can confide in.
  • Very often small, everyday actions can make the biggest difference to someone.
  • If you think the person may need professional support, ask them what they would like to do. 
  • Suggest that they consult their GP or another mental health professional, like a psychiatrist or psychologist.
  • There are also a range of other services (e.g. telephone help lines, websites and APPS) Samaritans, Breathing Space, headspace for friends and family