If it is a family member or close friend you are concerned about, they might not want to talk to you. Try not to take this personally: talking to someone you love can be difficult as they might be worried they are hurting you. It is important to keep being open and honest and telling them that you care. It may also be helpful to give them information of organisations or people they can reach out to. A list can be found below.
how do I respond in a crisis?
People with mental health problems sometimes experience a crisis, such as breaking down in tears, having a panic attack, feeling suicidal, or experiencing their own or a different reality. You may feel a sense of crisis too, but it's important to stay calm yourself. There are some general strategies that you can use to help:
- Listen without making judgements and concentrate on their needs in that moment.
- Ask them what would help them.
- Reassure and signpost to practical information or resources.
- Avoid confrontation.
- Ask if there is someone they would like you to contact.
- Encourage them to seek appropriate professional help.
- If they have hurt themselves, make sure they get the first aid they need.
Seeing, hearing or believing things that no-one else does can be the symptom of a mental health problem. It can be frightening and upsetting. Gently remind the person who you are and why you are there. Don't reinforce or dismiss their experiences, but acknowledge how the symptoms are making them feel.
how do I respond if someone is suicidal?
If someone tells you they are feeling suicidal or can't go on, or if you suspect they are thinking of taking their own life, it is very important to encourage them to get help. You or they should contact a GP or NHS 111. They can also contact the Samaritans straight away by calling 116 123 (UK) for free at any time. They could also get help from their friends, family, or mental health services.
You can ask how they are feeling and let them know that you are available to listen. Talking can be a great help to someone who is feeling suicidal, but it may be distressing for you. It is important for you to talk to someone about your own feelings and the Samaritans can help you as well.