The easiest way to help someone you’re worried about is to give them a safe, non-judgmental space to voice their thoughts. By simply listening to them and being physically and emotionally present, you’ll be far more effective than trying to offer advice.
Mental illness affects everyone — we all have struggled throughout our life. If you suspect someone may be struggling, you can use the information below to make them feel safe and valued.
Have they recently started taking risks they might not have previously, for example using drugs and/or alcohol, getting into trouble or making strange or unusual life choices?
Do they appear overwhelmed with the stresses of day-to-day life? Perhaps work stresses that they may, in ‘normal’ circumstances easily navigate, but now seem too much?
Have they started to disengage from activities they would normally enjoy, such as football, lunches, work and social occasions? This can include not wanting to talk, replying to messages or unusual absences from work and cancelling plans.
There are many situations that can trigger mental illness. These include:
Simply listening and providing a safe, understanding environment for someone to talk openly can be extremely powerful. Below is a list of easy questions that can help open a conversation without being too direct:
If you feel that someone needs help beyond your ability, or you want further advice for yourself or a loved one, here is a list of useful contacts:
If you feel that you or the person in question is unable to stay safe, always contact 999 immediately and seek emergency support.