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Watching someone you care about struggle with their mental health can be distressing and leave you feeling helpless, especially when you want to support them but aren’t sure how to do so. Here, we provide practical advice on how to talk to someone about their mental health, help them access professional treatment and look after your own wellbeing at the same time.

Do some research

Mental health difficulties can be challenging to understand if you have not experienced something similar yourself. Do a little research around the condition that the person may have or has been diagnosed with so that you can get a better understanding of what they are going through.

How to talk to a loved one

When someone you care about is suffering with symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety or another mental health condition, it is important to help them seek professional support. We understand that having this discussion can be difficult, so here are some pointers to think about:

  • Recognise the right time to start a conversation and Set some time aside so that you can talk to them face-to-face. Find a time and place where you won’t be interrupted and that doesn’t have many distractions so that you are able to give them your full attention. This can show that you are there for them, and are willing to listen and support them.
  • Upon raising the issue, it can be helpful to acknowledge that it is a sensitive topic and might be difficult to talk about, however voice your concern and discuss how they are feeling at the moment. For example, you may want to say “I’ve noticed that you’re spending less time with their friends and it’s worrying me.” Ask if they are okay and if there is anything they want to talk about
  • Remain patient, non-judgemental, and make space in the conversation for them to talk and feel listened to
  • Talking about mental health can be difficult for the person to discuss, however it can also be hard for you to hear about. As such, be aware of your own limits and boundaries so that you are not the only person holding their difficulties.
  • Reassure and support them that there is support available to them, and encourage them to speak with a health professional. The thought of doing so might be scary for them, so acknowledge this, offer to go to the appointment with them and let them know you will be there to support them to the best of your abilities. If they resist or deny that anything is wrong, make sure that they know that you are there for them and will continue to be there when they are ready to get help

Look after yourself

When you are supporting someone who is dealing with a mental health condition, it is important that you look after yourself too. We have listed some self-care tips below:

  • Mindfulness – practising mindfulness techniques helps us be in the moment, non-judgementally, and can be used to manage the negative thoughts and feelings you may be dealing with
  • Relaxing and fun activities – taking part in relaxing or fun activities, whether that is yoga, drawing or listening to music, can be a way for you to rest and re-energise
  • Maintaining your physical and mental health - look after the basics – so, make sure that you take the time to eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep
  • Spending time with others - try not to isolate yourself as this will only make you feel worse. Instead, spend time with people who care for you and who will listen to your worries

Seeking the right support

For more information about the mental health support offered at Priory Wellbeing Centre in Dubai, you can call us on: (+971) 4 245 3800 or send an enquiry onlineMore information about the treatment we offer can be found here.

Nadia Brooker, Counsellor

This page was clinically reviewed by Nadia Brooker (BA, MSc Health Science, PMSc Counseling Psychology, Counsellor DHCC). Nadia is a New Zealand trained and registered Counselling Psychologist, who holds a Masters of Health Science in Psychology. Nadia is able to assist patients with personal, social and vocational functioning by using psychological assessments and interventions, as well as preventative approaches. View Nadia's full profile here.