Supporting Someone Through Mental Illness

Young teens supporting someone through mental illness

How to support someone improve their mental health:

  • Do your homework, work to understand mental health and how it may impact people
  • Support someone to exercise. It may be as simple as organising to take a walk when you catch up
  • Sleep well
  • Encourage people to seek professional help
  • Encourage people to eat well. Plenty of fruit and vege!
  • Work with someone to build some self-help strategies for when they aren’t feeling well. What helps lift your mood? Who can you talk to?
  • Stay connected with them, touch base frequently
  • Help the person set some personal goals to work towards
  • Model positive self-talk
  • Model taking care of yourself, work on all these things for yourself!
  • Listen non-judgementally

How to listen in a helpful and non-judgemental manner:

  • Encourage the person to talk about their thoughts and emotions
  • Listen without judgement and do not be critical, simply offering solutions to their problems is often detrimental to help seeking behaviour (eg. ‘its not that bad’, ‘cheer up’, ‘you’ve just got to move on from it’.)
  • Choose a safe and comfortable environment to start the conversation. Ensure you have time to listen and avoid distractions or interruptions. Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable having a conversation face-to-face. Have a chat while driving, while on a walk, playing basketball – whatever is comfortable and safe for the person you are talking to.