Want to talk to someone now? Emergency and support lines

Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)

Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline: 1300 789 978
beyondblue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Rurallink: 1800 522 002

Helping people who aren’t ready for help

Sometimes a person who may be showing signs of a diagnosed mental health condition may refuse to seek support and treatment.1

This can happen for many reasons, but whatever the reasons are, the longer someone goes without support, the more distress they will experience, making it harder for them to recover.1

Supporting the person and encouraging them to seek help in their own time can be important. Below are some things you can do to encourage them to seek support.

  • Plan for what you are going to say. You can start with ‘I’d like to talk something over with you that’s been worrying me. Is this a good time or shall we talk later?’1
  • Speak in a calm, quiet voice. Try to avoid expressing any frustration or getting into an argument. Try to remain calm and supportive.1
  • Become informed. Do your research into what help is available in their area.2 
  • Be patient. It may take a while for the person to process and respond to what you are saying.3
  • Listen. Just listening to what they have to say can make a difference.3
  • Offer to make an appointment. Suggest that you can go with them to their appointment for support.3

What if the person still doesn’t want help?

It is important to reiterate that you are concerned about them. Ask if there are any specific reasons for why they don’t want to seek help. Once you have an idea on what is worrying them, try working together to find a solution. For example:3

  • There are a variety of support options available. This includes talking to someone you trust, speaking to a professional via a support line, online confidential live chat or visiting a GP or local support service.
  • Some people might find it hard to see a GP or other support services because they feel anxious, frightened that others are against them or fear they will be criticised. Explain to them how a GP or a professional support service is there to help and will not judge them.3
  • Some people may have difficulties in putting their thoughts together to explain what is going on, they might find it hard to talk about how they feel or not realise that they need help. In this instance you can support them by speaking to a GP or a support service beforehand, and writing some notes about your concerns in advance may help.3

Remember that it is best for the person involved to voluntarily seek help. However, if you are concerned that they need urgent help (i.e. are at risk to themselves or others) call 000 or call the Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL) 1300 555 788 (Perth Metro Residents); 1800 676 822 (Peel Residents).

Try not to worry if your first attempt to talk to them isn’t successful. An initial conversation may get them thinking about seeking help. Just by being there and being non-judgemental, they will be more likely to come to you when they do decide to seek help.3

You don’t have to deal with the situation on your own, there are support services that can provide advice and support.3