Caring for Others


We all have a deep desire within us to connect with others, to be part of community and to know that we are not alone.Now more than ever we are longing for deeper connection. As we physically distance ourselves from one another we can still socially connect and support one another during this unsettling time. This can be an especially challenging time for someone who has a mental health illness.

If you are helping someone else, here are our top tips to help you start that conversation with someone who may be feeling overwhelmed.

1. Think about ways you can reach out to your friend and family member

  • There are many ways you can reach others with technology. Text, WhatsApp Video Call, Face Time, Skype, Zoom or a good old-fashioned phone call! Think about what would be most appropriate; a face to face video chat or would they prefer a text letting them know you are here for them so they can get back to you on their own terms?

2. Ensure that you can chat without distractions

  • Find a quiet place to talk where you can give them your full attention without being distracted.

3. Be patient

  • When someone feels overwhelmed, it can take them time to respond. They may be processing your message and thinking about how they will respond. Give them time.

4. Use open questions when talking

  • When chatting, use open questions can encourage people to talk. For example, “What have you been doing for yourself this week?”

5. Repeat back what you have heard

  • When you have listened, repeat back to them what you have heard them say. This shows that you have listened and will help to reassure them.

6. Take time to equip yourself with knowledge about any existing mental health conditions they may have

  • It can really help to understand them better and how it affects them. Click here for more information about common mental health illnesses.

7. Make sure your friend or family member knows where they can go for more help

  • Have they contacted their GP? Are they familiar with local support services like Woking Mind? Or national support services such as the Samaritans? Click here for more details of where they may turn for help.

It’s not about having the answers but simply being there to listen, reassure and help them get the support they need.


Download our tips in a printable format:

Caring for others


You may also find the following online resources helpful:

Helping someone else. Mind.

Supporting someone with a mental illness. Rethink Mental Illness.

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