Helping Someone Else

What to do in an emergency

If someone has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives.

If you’re worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life, you should do the following if you feel able:

  • remove anything the person could use to harm themselves
  • stay with them
  • get emergency help

See Mind mental health charity’s page on helping someone else to seek help to find different ways to get help in an emergency.

Someone I know is feeling suicidal

Mind offers advice on how to support them.

More information

The mental health charity Mind offers advice on how to help others, how to help others seek help and how to look after your own wellbeing too.

Helping someone else with their mental health

It can be difficult to see someone you care about struggling with their mental health.

Often people who are struggling with their mental health will speak to a friend or family member before seeking professional help. You don’t need to be a mental health professional to offer support to someone you care about. Your little acts of kindness and everyday actions can make a big difference.

The NHS and Mind offer advice on things you can do to help others:

Express your concern and say you can help. It shows you care about them and that you are there to support them. It can also be a good way to open up a conversation.

Listen. Giving someone space to talk and listening to how they’re feeling can be really helpful. Ask open questions that start with ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘where’ or ‘when’.

Offer reassurance. Opening up and seeking help can feel lonely or scary. Reassure them that they are not alone and that there is help available.

Be patient. It may take time for them to talk about how they are feeling. Just being there for someone can be helpful, so they know they can turn to you if they do want to talk.

Don’t force it. Don’t force someone to get help or arrange treatment without their consent (unless it is an emergency – in which case visit the Crisis page). This can make them feel uncomfortable or powerless. You can offer suggestions on where they can get support, such as advising them to speak to their GP.

Offer practical help. Small acts of kindness, like doing the shopping or attending appointments with them can help. Ask them if there are any practical tasks you could help with.

Stay calm. It can be difficult to hear that someone you care for is struggling. However staying calm will allow them to stay calm too, and shows them that they can talk to you openly.

Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself – supporting someone you care about can be challenging. Mind provides some helpful tips on how to look after your own mental wellbeing.

Find out more via the NHS Every Mind Matters website, which provides helpful information on how to support others who are struggling with their mental health.

Mind offers advice on how to help others, how to help others seek help and how to look after your own wellbeing too.

If you are a family member of a veteran who has taken their own life, For The Fallen offers support. You can contact them via email: [email protected].