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Supporting others

18 August 2023

Human beings are naturally social creatures. For lots of us our close relationships with friends and family are among the most important parts of our lives. Many of us spend a lot of time and energy supporting others, so it's important to practice good self-care. Learn more about supporting others and yourself.


Practical tips on looking after others

  • Offer your support. Let your friend or family member know that you are here for them when they are ready to talk.
  • Know when to talk. Pick a nice quiet spot to talk, meet with them one on one rather than in a group, avoid talking during stressful times i.e. meal times, and choose a time when you both have plenty of time to chat.
  • Be prepared with what you want to talk to them about.
  • Be respectful of their boundaries and privacy, they may not be ready to talk to you about what is going on for them.
  • When your friend is ready to talk ask open questions like “what can I do to support you with that?” practice reflective listening using phrases like “it sounds as if” “what I understand is that” and don’t worry if you don’t understand your friend will appreciate you just being there.
  • Keep up with all the fun stuff that you normally do together.
  • Keep in touch. Do small things for your friend to show them that you care and that you are thinking of them.
  • Encourage them to seek support. Offer to help your friend access some professional support and to go with them to the first appointment.
  • Look after yourself. Supporting a friend or family member through a tough time can be challenging therefore it is important that you look after yourself, continue to keep up with your daily routine and get support for yourself.
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If you require urgent or crisis mental health care please call Crisis Resolution on 0800 920 092 or dial 111.

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