How You Can Support Someone Who is Experiencing a Mental Health Crisis
How Should I approach Someone:
- Give the person opportunities to talk. It can be helpful to let the person choose when to open up. However if they do not initiate conversation about how they are feeling, you should say something to them. Speak openly and honestly about your concerns.
- Choose a suitable time to talk in a space you both feel comfortable where there will be no interruptions, when you are both sober and in a calm frame of mind.
- Use ‘I’ statements such as ‘I have noticed….and feel concerned’ rather than ‘you’ statements.
- Let the person know you are concerned about them and are willing to help.
- Respect how the person interprets their symptoms.
- If the person doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you, encourage them to discuss how they are feeling with someone else.
How Can I be Supportive:
- Treat the person with respect and dignity
- Do not blame the person for their illness
- Offer consistent emotional support and understanding
- Encourage the person to talk to you
- Be a good listener
- Give the person hope for recovery
- If the person would like information, make sure the resources you provide are accurate and appropriate to their situation.
(Reference: Mental Health First Aid Australia)
If you are concerned about someones safety, seek help immediately by calling lifeline on 13 11 14 or the South Western Sydney – Community Mental Health Emergency Team (CoMHET) on 1300 787 799 (8.30am – 10pm, 7 days). If there is an immediate risk, always call emergency services on 000.
For more information see:
Mental Health First Aid Australia – How can I help someone I am concerned about
headspace (for young people 12-25) – helping a friend
headspace (for young people 12-25)- Information for parents and carers