Start a conversation

Starting a conversation about offering help can be difficult. You could try asking simple questions, such as:

  • I’ve been worried about you. Would you like to talk?
  • I care about you and want to help. Is there something I can help with?
  • it seems like you’re going through a difficult time. Maybe I can help you to find the right help?

Talking with someone they trust and sharing their problem can be a really positive experience. It can help them feel less alone and give them a different perspective on the problem they are facing.

Show your support

If a friend or relative is struggling with a problem, it can have a big impact on your life. Supporting them and letting them know you are there to help can bring you together. You could try:

  • expressing your concern and reassuring them that you care
  • asking questions, listening to their ideas and being responsive when they talk about their problems
  • reminding them that help is available and that problems can be solved
  • finding out what they feel would help and helping them to get any care they want
  • offering practical help such as making a telephone call or by going with them to their GP

Maintain their trust

Though it may be obvious to you that someone you know needs professional help, there are many reasons why they may refuse or be reluctant to seek help. You may feel frustrated if you think they’re not trying hard enough to get well, but try not to make assumptions about how they feel. When talking about their problems, try to remember to:

  • treat them with respect, compassion and empathy
  • keep yourself and them focused on positive things and day to day realities
  • discuss the topic when and where they feel safe and comfortable
  • watch for reactions during the discussion and slow down or back up if the person becomes confused or looks upset

If you have any comments or would like to share your story, please email us at