Support Advice

There are many ways to help your friend or family member who is experiencing mental health challenges. Don’t be afraid to speak up and start the conversation. Here are a few specific ideas:

  • Reassure them that they are not alone that you care, and will continue to support them.

  • Encourage them to talk openly about how they're feeling and listen carefully. Resist the urge to give advice or talk about your own experiences.

  • Read up and learn about their particular disorder to understand what they may be experiencing.

  • Stay in touch through regular phone calls and visits to help them feel less isolated.

  • Invite them to dinner, movies, sporting events and other activities. Even if they refuse at first, continue to issue invitations periodically.

  • Offer to run errands, cook meals, take children to activities, or provide other assistance.

  • Encourage them to stay active and engage in activities that have been pleasurable in the past, such as hobbies or sports.

  • Encourage them to exercise: offer to go for a walk together.

  • Talk to them about the importance of eating right and drinking water.

  • Talk about the future. People who are experiencing a mental illness may have feelings of hopelessness and have trouble seeing beyond their current state.

  • Be patient and don’t push for too much too soon. Understand that they have a legitimate medical condition and that recovery takes time.

  • Point out small signs of progress, such as saying, "I see you’re working in your garden again."

  • Without being patronizing, monitor them to be certain they are taking their medications and keeping appointments with doctors or therapists.

  • Offer to go with them to medical appointments to provide support and take notes for future reference.

  • Don’t ignore or dismiss remarks about suicide.

  • Take immediate action if your friend or family member appears to be in crisis. Call the Access & Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240 for help 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

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.