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Our Mental Health Week: How to help someone struggling with their mental health

Sometimes all you need to do is listen

A lot of the articles written on mental health naturally centre around the person suffering.

However, a problem I have noticed recently is that there is very little out there for those people trying to help and support someone struggling with their mental health.

Friends, family, boyfriends and girlfriends all have to go through the difficult experience of watching someone they care about suffer, without knowing how to help them.

Mental health is hard to understand unless you're going through it, and every person suffers differently, but here's our advice on what you can do to support anyone struggling at the moment.


It's very easy to feel sorry for someone who is going through a tough time, but sympathy and empathy are two very different responses.

Empathising with what someone else is struggling with allows you to better understand how they feel.

For instance, if a loved one is suffering with anxiety, think about a time that something made you anxious. Even though your situations are likely to be very different, developing an empathetic response to how someone else is feeling enables you to help them in a non-judgemental and more constructive way.


Sometimes the best thing you can do is just listen to someone.

Opening up about your mental health is terrifying and building up the courage to do it is unbelievably brave.

So, being there for a person while they open-up is often the kindest response.


Checking in on your friend or family member when they are going through a hard time can be life-changing.

If you haven't heard from someone for a few days, or even weeks, sending them a text or Facebook message reminding them that you're there for them and asking if everything is OK can be hugely helpful.

It reminds the person who may be isolating themselves as a result of their illness that people care about them, and sometimes that's all they might need.


If you have the time and capacity to do so, researching the mental health problem your friend is facing can be so beneficial when it comes to increasing your understanding.

There are some incredible resources online (linked at the end of this article) which break down the illnesses and make them far easier to comprehend.

Taking a moment to find out more about mental health is one of the best ways to ensure that you're giving useful and factual advice, and improve your general understanding of mental health.


Mental illness isn't just tough for the person suffering – it can be incredibly difficult to cope with if you're trying to support someone.

So, it's important to look after yourself too.

Take breaks when you need to. Seek professional help if your own mental health is taking a back seat. Talk to someone with a distance from your situation about what you're going through.

There is absolutely no shame in accepting that you can't give 100 per cent of yourself all of the time.

What's important is that you do the best you can while also making sure that you're OK too.

More information

If you need more advice and information on how to help someone suffering with their mental health, here are some useful links to point you in the right direction:

Rethink Mental Illness


Reach Out

Time to Change