How to support a friend with a mental health issue

We love our friends and only want what’s best for them. So what happens when one of your nearest and dearest struggles with a mental health problem? Many people struggle to know what to say, out of fear that they’ll say the wrong thing or make matters worse. It can be difficult knowing how to respond when a friend opens up about a mental health battle they’re facing, but there’s advice out there for responding in a way that’s both helpful and compassionate. Keep reading on to find out more.


When someone opens up to you about a mental health issue they’re facing, now is not the time to interrupt. Allow your friend to really open up about how they feel without jumping in with assumptions or judgements. This also helps your friend feel more comfortable opening up to you. After all, sometimes all people want is someone to listen, not to give advice.

Reassure them

The last thing you want is for your friend to regret opening up to you due to embarrassment. Reassure your friend that you’re happy they opened up to you and that they did the right thing. Remind them that they can always talk to you or consult a trusted member of the NHS for guidance.

Tell them their feelings are valid

No matter how big or small their mental health issue may seem to you, it’s important to remind your friend that their feelings are valid. Some good phrases you can use are:

-“What you’re going through is really tough”
-“That sounds really difficult”
-“I’m sorry that you’re going through this. Remember I’m always here if you need to talk”

Practice compassion

Now is not the time to insert your own opinions and feelings into the conversation. Remember to focus on your friend and do your best to just listen and not give advice. Maybe treat your friend to a nice bouquet of flowers using NHS discounts to let them know you’re thinking about them. Knowing they have a friend like you who is compassionate and will listen can go a long way during a difficult time.

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