How to Seek Help for Others

When someone you care about exhibits symptoms of mental illness, it’s critically important for you to step up by offering support, talking openly and working with them to find help. Educate yourself about mental illness.

There are many types of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and more, each with a different level of training and expertise. However, the process of seeking help does not have to be overwhelming or intimidating. You might begin by consulting someone you already know – a primary care physician or spiritual counselor perhaps. They can help you find someone qualified to help work through specific issues your friend or family member is experiencing, and get them started on the road to recovery.

Before making an appointment, spend a few minutes on the phone with a mental health professional or counseling service to determine whether the fit seems right. For example, some counselors specialize in working with children, while others focus on adults dealing with depression. Some can prescribe medications and others cannot. With a little research, you can find the right individual or combination of professionals for your family member or friend.

Remember, help is available and accessible. Read up to learn more about mental illness and further explore the resources here on this Web site. Or, call the hotline at (888) 724-7240 for additional support, including referrals to medical professionals who can begin the diagnosis and treatment process.

Step up by following these simple steps:

  1. Read up on signs and symptoms.
  2. Speak up and talk openly about what he/she is experiencing.
  3. Listen up and really hear what he/she is saying and feeling.
  4. Link up with local resources. Offer to get help together.
  5. Follow up and offer continued support.

Just one person reaching out can make a difference. It’s Up to Us.


If you or someone you care about needs to speak to someone or is in crisis and needs immediate help, please call the Access & Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Trained and experienced counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. You don't have to suffer in silence, make the FREE call. If emergency medical care is needed,
call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Now's the time to read up! With one in four adult San Diegans facing mental health challenges, it’s up to us to make San Diego a supportive community for those experiencing such challenges. Through education and awareness, the "It's Up to Us" bulletin offers mental health related information, resources, ways to get involved and also stay informed.