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Helplines

Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)

Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline: 1300 789 978
beyondblue: 1300 224 626
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Rurallink: 1800 522 002

How to help

Helping others and providing support can make a difference for someone who is having problems and going through a tough time.

If you think someone you care about might be having problems, try talking to them about your concerns. They may also need your support while they look for professional help.

It can be a worrying time for everyone involved. However, it is also important to look after yourself too. Supporting someone who is experiencing mental health issues can be difficult and is often draining on you, both physically and emotionally, which in turn can affect your own mental health and wellbeing. Visit ways to look after your mental health and wellbeing; support for family, friends and carers; or support services if your mental health and wellbeing is being affected while supporting someone else.

Offer support by talking and listening:

Often when a friend, family member or someone we care about is going through a tough time, we find it difficult to understand what they are going through or how to help them. However, for most people, just asking if they are okay and listening can make a difference. It’s often a big relief for them to know that you’re aware that they are going through a tough time and you’re willing to listen and be there to help if needed.

Visit how to start the conversation for ideas about how to help.

Activities create conversation:

Find an opportunity during everyday life activities to start the conversation and ask them how they are really feeling. Try activities such as:

  • going for a walk
  • doing the dishes
  • going out for a coffee or meal
  • kicking the footy, playing a game, skateboarding, surfing etc with a friend.
  • going for a drive
  • gardening
  • anything that encourages or provides opportunity to have a chat.

Ask open questions about how they are feeling. Questions such as, ‘What’s happening in your life at the moment?’ If you just get back ‘fine’, ask them how they’re really feeling.

Talk gently about your concerns and the things you have noticed.

Giving them time and space to tell you about what they are going through. Often a simple pause may be enough for them to feel comfortable to talk.

Listen carefully to their responses without interrupting, being judgmental or offering solutions. See Tips on being a good listener and What is not helpful to say?

Tell them that you care about them and ask them what you can do support them.

Support Services:

If you are still worried after reaching out to someone, encourage them to either complete the mental health check-up tool to work out what help is right for them, talk to their GP, seek a support service or contact a help line.