IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS, PLEASE CALL 911 OR CALL CO CRISIS SERVICES AT 844-493-8255

Ask for Help or

Help Someone

How to reach out and start the conversation.

LET’S TALK

Anyone  has the power to make a positive difference in their community when it comes to mental health and it starts by TALKING. Whether it’s a conversation on a chairlift, at a construction site, or in a high school classroom, perhaps one of the most powerful things you can do in your community is listen to someone with kindness, share openly about your own experience and start a positive dialogue around mental health. The change starts with you!

ASK FOR HELP

Here are some tips when asking for help:

Find someone who feels safe

It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member, friend, coach or co-worker, talk to someone you can trust; someone you know who can respond in a kind, supportive way and guide you to some helpful resources.

Be honest and open

It can sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing something so personal like a mental health concern, but explaining how you are feeling and how your challenges are impacting your life may help others understand how to help you.

Let others help you

It’s easy to think that we should know how to help ourselves when we are struggling with a mental health challenge but in actuality, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right resource. When experiencing a mental health challenge, sometimes our brains aren’t functioning to the best of their ability making things even more confusing. Additionally, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mental health treatment. For these and other reasons, it’s okay to accept help. Try your best to set aside your need to do it yourself. Ask those you trust for help and let them help you.

asking for help
asking for help

ASK FOR HELP

 

Here are some tips when asking for help: 

 

Find someone who feels safe

It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member, friend, coach or co-worker, talk to someone you can trust; someone you know who can respond in a kind, supportive way and guide you to some helpful resources.

Be honest and open

It can sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing something so personal like a mental health concern, but explaining how you are feeling and how your challenges are impacting your life may help others understand how to help you.

Let others help you

It’s easy to think that we should know how to help ourselves when we are struggling with a mental health challenge but in actuality, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right resource. When experiencing a mental health challenge, sometimes our brains aren’t functioning to the best of their ability making things even more confusing. Additionally, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mental health treatment. For these and other reasons, it’s okay to accept help. Try your best to set aside your need to do it yourself. Ask those you trust for help and let them help you.

If you don’t know where to go, you can always start with Colorado Crisis Services 1-844-493-8255.

Ask for what you need 

Let friends and family know how they can help you. They might believe that leaving you alone is the best way to help you, but in actuality you need more support. Or perhaps you really just need space and continuing to talk is not helpful. Vocalize your needs. Your support networks will have a lot more success in supporting you when they know what you need. 

Keep talking

When we aren’t doing well, one of  our tendencies as humans is to clam up and keep our problems to ourselves. Experts say that isn’t the answer though. As difficult as it might seem, talk to someone. Open up, even though it’s tough.  Keep talking about it. Know that people care. Sometimes people don’t always know how to respond when we try to open up, but don’t take that as a sign that they don’t care. Keep talking and keep sharing.  Don’t give up. For info about who to reach out to when you are struggling, visit our GET HELP page.

help someone

HELP SOMEONE

Your words don’t have to be perfect to be powerful and you don’t have to be a therapists to help someone. Below are some tips to help someone you think might be struggling. Reach out to them. Your impact can be big.

Ask questions and avoid assumptions

Ask questions like, “How are you doing?” “How are you feeling, really?” You can also pair that question with an objective observation like, “I’ve noticed you stopped spending time with your friends recently, are you doing okay?”

Avoid assumptions or subjective statements like, “I’ve noticed you’re very depressed,” or “I think you’re going down-hill, what’s going on with you?”

Stick to observations and let them tell you how they are feeling. Remember, you aren’t in their head, so unless you ask, you don’t know what’s going on.

Listen (Actively)

Let your friend finish their sentences and complete their thoughts without interrupting. Active listening involves eye-contact, presence, and acknowledging that you are hearing someone during a conversation.

You don’t even need to offer an immediately solution. Just listen with compassion and it will mean a lot. You might not feel like you’re doing a lot when you listen but you are! Often times in our busy society, people don’t get the opportunity to just be heard.

It is hugely supportive for someone who is struggling to have an active, non-judgmental listener.

Offer Encouragement and Support

Encouraging words go a long way.  Things like, “I believe in you,” or “No matter what happens, I’m here for you,” can mean a lot.

Avoid Minimizing

Try not to respond with statements that minimize how they are feeling or what they are going through like, “It’s not that bad, other people have it worse than you do” or “You’re just having a bad week, I’m sure it’s nothing”. These kinds of statements make it seem like the person is over-reacting, making a big deal out of nothing. Instead of minimizing, you might try validating them, saying things like, “Wow, that sounds really tough” or “I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine what that is like” or “Gosh, it sounds like you’re doing your best,”, that sounds challenging. I don’t know how I would handle that myself.”

Make sure you have time to talk

It might seem obvious, but when you approach someone to ask them how they are doing, make sure you have the time and ability to be present with them both physically and emotionally. People are very perceptive and if you ask how they are doing, but aren’t sincere or don’t seem like you have time to listen, they will notice and keep their concerns to themselves.

Be a safe person

If someone has shared information about their mental health challenge, chances are it was probably tough for them to share it. The last thing they need is for that information to be shared with others in a way that is not helpful. Don’t gossip. Don’t share with others. Be a safe person and let them talk about their issues on their own terms when they are ready.  The only exception to this rule would be if you feel like someone might hurt themselves or others. If you are afraid that this might happen, ask the person, “Do you feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else?” OR “Are you considering suicide?” Don’t be afraid to ask a direct question. If they say yes, don’t leave them. Stay with them and help them connect to emergency resources like Colorado Crisis Services (1-844-493-8255). If they say no, then be a safe person and keep what they have said confidential.

Avoid being judgmental

Don’t use language like “crazy”, “weird”, “psycho”.  Stigmatizing language is not helpful.

Check in or be available for them again in the future

While it can be a huge relief for someone to share about their mental health issue, usually one conversation won’t solve all of their problems. Follow up with your friend, colleague or loved one. Reach out after the initail conversation to check in and ask them how they are doing. It’s not your job to be a therapist or to be their sole support, but you can be a friend and make sure they’ve connected to the help they need.

We’re All Imperfect. You Are Not Alone.

Emily Steingart in Snow Faces of Hope
Being a friend Share hope

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BUILDING HOPE CANNOT SUPPORT CRISIS CALLS. IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS, PLEASE CALL 911 OR COLORADO CRISIS SERVICES AT 844-493-8255 OR Text “TALK” to 38255, OR GO TO YOUR NEAREST EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT FOR ASSISTANCE.

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