9 Tips for Helping Someone with Mental Health Issues

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It’s more than “just a phase.” It’s not something that one can “snap out of.”

Mental health issues are real, and they can be debilitating. One day, everything may seem fine, and the next day, things may feel hopeless. At times, it’s hard to cope with day-to-day life, let alone deal with the added stress of familial responsibilities, academics, work, or merely being around people.

If you have a friend/loved one dealing with mental health issues, you can help them maneuver such challenging times in several ways. But remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. You can best offer support and understanding and let them know you care.

Rising Mental Health Issues

Nowadays, almost everyone is battling a minor or major mental health issue. From body dysmorphic disorder to anxiety, panic attacks, eating problems, and depression, mental health issues are rising rapidly. However, people pay little to no heed to identifying and addressing such issues. Psychologists have been voicing their concerns regarding society’s stigma surrounding mental health problems and devising strategies to curb emerging issues. Their role in addressing and overcoming the psychological issues of today’s time is paramount. For those willing to serve in this prestigious field, the relevant academic background is crucial alongside practical work exposure. Likewise, career advancement prospects necessitate pursuing higher degrees like online masters in psychology no GRE to remain abreast of changing population issues. Online programs that require no GRE are relatively more flexible and convenient for working individuals.

Nonetheless, as a layperson, you can reach out and help your loved one or friend overcome mental health issues in several ways.

Here are ten tips for helping someone with mental health issues:

1. Avoid making assumptions

Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they are dangerous or different. Avoid making assumptions about what your friend or loved one can and cannot do. Instead, let them lead the way and ask them what they need from you.

2. Listen without judgment

The worst thing you can do when someone confides in you about their mental health is to judge them. Instead, be a sounding board for your friend or loved one.

  • Listen to what they have to say without passing judgment.
  • Show empathy but avoid advising unless they ask for it.
  • Avoid anything that sounds like you are invalidating their feelings.

Plus, never compare your friend’s or loved one’s experience to anyone else’s. Everyone experiences mental illness differently.

3. Encourage them to seek treatment

You know you want to help, but you also don’t want to overstep your boundaries. So, how can you encourage your friend or loved one to seek treatment?

  • First, do your research about mental illness and available treatments. It will help you have a more informed conversation about their options.
  • You can gently express your concern and explain that you think treatment could help them feel better.
  • Finally, offer to go with them to their appointments or help them find a mental health professional.

If they resist treatment, don’t give up. With patience, persistence, and love, you can make a difference in their lives.

4. Check on them regularly

Mental issues can make one feel isolated and alone. They can restrict their social interactions and make them less likely to want to see people. You don’t have to keep tabs on them constantly, but regular check-ins can let them know you care and that you’re there for them if they need to talk.

According to NIMH – the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 52.9 million American adults were living with Any Mental Illness (AMI) in 2020. That’s nearly one in five people over the age of 18. 

The number may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that mental illness is treatable. People with mental illness can lead happy and fulfilling lives with proper support. 

5. Avoid saying things like “you’re fine”

Your intention might be to make the person feel better, but telling someone with mental illness to “cheer up” or that they “look fine” is not okay. It can invalidate their experiences and make them feel worse. It’s the same as asking someone with a broken leg to “just walk it off.” Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?

What you can do instead:

  • Acknowledge that the person is going through a tough time.
  • Offer a compassionate, safe, and comfortable environment to talk openly.
  • Pray or send positive thoughts their way.

Only little things matter sometimes, and a small gesture of kindness can go a long way.

6. Help them out with daily tasks

Whether grocery shopping, filling up their gas tank or walking their dog, offer to help with any daily tasks that may be difficult for them. You can even offer to do some of their house chores if they struggle to focus.

They might not want to accept help at first, but let them know that you’re there for them no matter what and be persistent.

7. Include them in your life

Make an effort to make them feel included in your life. Invite them to join you over dinner or hang out with your friends’ group.

Sometimes people struggling with mental health issues want to live fulfilling lives and feel like they belong somewhere. But when it feels like the world is against them, it can be hard to find that sense of belonging.

8. Respect their choices

Every person has different preferences/needs when managing their mental health. Some people want to talk about what they’re going through, while others would rather keep it to themselves.

Some people want to take medication, while others want to try natural remedies. And some people will want to see a therapist, while others would rather not.

Whatever their choices are, it’s important to respect them. Just because they don’t want to do something you would do doesn’t mean it’s wrong. But ensure to never leave them alone in their decision-making process, and be there to support them through whatever they choose.

9. Don’t mind their mood swings

Mental illness can cause severe mood swings. One minute they could be happy, and the next, they could cry. They might even say things they don’t mean during these moments.

Not taking their words or actions personally during these times is essential. Remember, it’s the mental illness talking, not them. All you need to focus on is being supportive and understanding. After all, that’s what they need the most.


Helping someone with a mental illness can be challenging. It’s crucial to be patient, understanding, and supportive. Never give up on your loved one/friend battling mental health problems; always be in their corner, cheering them on. They need you more than ever during such tough times. 

If your loved one or someone you know is struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help. It’s best to take action early on before things worsen.