Do you know how to help someone who is experiencing a mental health issue?

I’m completely in favour of encouraging people to reach out and ask for help with their mental health. Just as important is teaching you what to do if someone reaches out to you.

The first thing to know is that you don’t have to resolve the issues.

Here’re a few pointers to help you navigate a mental health first aid conversation:

Basic steps to a mental health conversation

  • Try to find a quiet place to talk, somewhere where you won’t be interrupted
  • Listen to understand what is being said, without judging and without interrupting – this helps to build rapport and create trust
  • keep the conversation about the person and don’t make the conversation about you i.e., ‘I know how you feel, that happened to me when…’
  • ask for clarification and check your understanding of what’s been said
  • focus on their thoughts and how they feel
  • reassure the person that it is ok to feel upset, overwhelmed etc
  • ask the person if they’d like to explore options for support e.g., GP, professional therapist
  • check out for local and national support

  • Respect confidentiality unless…
  • If you suspect that the person is in danger of harming themselves, seek immediate help from a medical professional.

Listening is key

In short, we listen and then we signpost to professional help and other useful resources.

Training to help you talk about mental health

If you’d like to explore how your business would benefit from joining the conversation on mental health at work, contact me for an informal chat.

If you’d like to join an open Mental Health First Aid training course, check out my forthcoming courses dates:

Already a Mental Health First Aider or Champion? Join our continued learning and support group.