How to support friends and family

How to support friends and family

How to support friends and family

Most of us know someone who has struggled with their mental health. It can take time for someone's mental health to improve, and some of us may need professional help, but there are ways to help and support someone get back to postive mental health.

Read the top tips from the NHS on things you can do to help others - you can find further information here.

Express concern and say you can help

Letting someone know you're worried is a good way to open up a conversation - it shows you care about the person, have time for them and that they do not have to avoid things with you.

Act as you usually do together

Do what you usually do - behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated. Do not be afraid to offer kind words and a space to talk, whether by phone, messaging or in person.

Reassure them

The first time someone mentions their worries is a big step. It's good to recognise this and reassure them. Let them know you're here to listen when they need to talk.

Offer your time to listen

Listening is an important skill. Ask open questions that start with "how", "what", "where" or "when". This can help people open up. You can find listening tips from Samaritans here.

Be patient

You will not always know the full story. There may be reasons why they have found it difficult to ask for help. Just being there can be helpful for someone who may want to open up later.

If they do not want support

Gently explore their reasons for not wanting to get support. If they are unsure whether to get help, just talking and listening without judgement could help work out what's getting in the way.

Don't force it 

Do not force someone to talk to you or get help, and do not go to a doctor on their behalf. This may lead to them feeling uncomfortable, with less power and less able to speak for themselves.

Look after yourself

It can be upsetting to hear someone you care about in distress. Be kind to yourself and take some time to relax or do something you enjoy.

You can find mental wellbeing tips by clicking here.

Offer practical help

Little acts of kindness – like offering to do the shopping or to go to professional appointments with them – can help. Find out what works for them.

Saints By Your Side

Starting later this year, we will be running 12-week programmes of support sessions for men from the local community who are struggling with their mental health.

We encourage people who feel they could benefit from this support to self-refer using our web form. If you want to refer a family member or a friend, please contact us to discuss the referral directly via email to or by calling 07990 851723.

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