Sometimes small things make a big difference

Helping someone you know

When someone you care about isn’t acting the way they normally do, it’s hard to know what to say. You may want to help them, but perhaps you don’t know how. Here’s some advice on how to start these conversations and what to look for. Also, don’t forget that everyone’s different and what may work for one person may not be helpful for another.


How to start a tough conversation


Sometimes the most difficult thing is just working out how to start a conversation with someone who isn’t feeling themselves. It’s important to choose a time when you’re both free to talk and a place where you both feel comfortable. You might want to start by saying something like “I’ve noticed you seem a bit down lately…”

Being there for someone


 

  • Let the person know if you've noticed a change in their behaviour.
  • When talking to them sit relaxed and keep up the eye contact to let them know you’re listening.
  • Use open-ended questions like “Can you tell me about…?”
  • Spend time talking with the person about their experiences and let them know that you're there to listen without being judgmental.
  • Suggest the person see a doctor or health professional and/or help them to make an appointment.
  • Help the person to find information about anxiety and depression from a website or library.
  • Encourage the person to try to get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy food.
  • Spend some time together and encourage your friends to do the same.

 

  • Put pressure on the person by telling them to 'snap out of it' or 'get their act together'.
  • Stay away or avoid or ignore them.
  • Tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more.
  • Pressure them to party more or wipe out how they're feeling with drugs and alcohol.

 


Looking after yourself

It's important if you are caring for someone with anxiety or depression to look after yourself, both physically and emotionally.

You need to stay strong and reliable, not only for the person you're looking after, but also for yourself. However, the constant, sometimes overwhelming nature of being a carer can put you at greater risk of developing anxiety or depression.


I was sick of not being able to feel, I wanted to feel something, anything.
Lily, 21