Get help for your loved ones
If you know someone who is struggling with their mental health, there are several things you can do. Find out how you can help and support them.
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How to say the right thing
- Express concern and say you can help. Letting someone know you’re worried is a good way to open up a conversation – it shows:
- you care about the person
- have time for them
- they can be honest in sharing difficulties with their mental health with you.
- Reassure them. The first time someone mentions their worries is a big step. Remember, it’s good to recognise this and reassure them. Let them know you’re there to listen when they need to talk.
- Offer practical help. Little acts of kindness can help. Find out what works for them and provide them that support.
Have you heard about Talking Therapies?
These free Talking Therapy services are designed to support your loved ones’ mental wellbeing. They can help if your loved one or someone you know has been struggling with:
- General anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Long term illness
- Surviving Covid-19
- Agoraphobia (extreme fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving your own home, or of being in places from which escape is difficult)
- Other phobias
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Body dysmorphic disorder (struggling with obsessive or repetitive thoughts about defects only you seem to notice in your appearance).
Anyone can request to access an assessment by these NHS Talking Therapy services for themselves. Simply fill out a self-referral form or speak to a GP.
How to listen
Listening is an important skill. Offer your time to listen. Ask open questions that start with “how”, “what”, “where” or “when”. This can help people open up.
Be patient. You will not always know the full story. There may be reasons why they have found it difficult to ask for help. Just being there can be helpful for someone who may want to open up later.
Act as you usually do together. Do what you usually do – behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated. Do not be afraid to offer kind words and a space to talk, whether by phone, messaging or in person.
What If they do not want support? Gently explore their reasons for not wanting to get support. If they are unsure whether to get help, just talking and listening without judgement could help work out what’s getting in the way.
Do not force someone to talk to you or get help, and do not go to a doctor on their behalf. This may lead to them feeling uncomfortable, with less power and less able to speak for themselves.
How to engage on talks about suicide
Talking to someone about suicide is not easy. Here’s how you can support someone who is feeling suicidal:
- Show that you care – focus on the other person, make eye contact, and put away your phone
- Use open questions that need more than a yes/no answer, and follow-up with questions like ‘tell me more’
- Say it back – check that you have understood what they are telling you. Don’t interrupt or offer a solution. Simply listen and offer support.
Visit Samaritans for more tips on how to start a difficult conversation with someone you are worried about.
Visit Rethink for information on how to support someone who is having suicidal thoughts.
You can also attend this free online training on suicide prevention.
Are you a carer?
It can be upsetting to hear that someone you care about is in distress. But it’s so important to look after yourself. Be kind to yourself and take some time to step back, relax or do something you enjoy. Remember, Every Mind Matters.
You can also attend the Carers Forums in Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark if you are caring for someone with a mental condition; the Forum meets monthly. For more information, including dates and location please contact Matthew Mckenzie on firstname.lastname@example.org, visit A Caring Mind blog or call 07881301059.
There are other support services you can attend, such as:
- Bromley Children’s Project SEN – If you’re supporting a young person with special educational needs or a disability and live in Bromley, you can access this service specially developed for such families.
- Bromley Community Counselling Service (BCCS) – This service provides particular insight into issues that may arise for those looking after children and young people under the age of 18. It offers counselling, life-coaching, mediation, and couples counselling.
- Bromley Well provides support to Bromley young and adult carers, people with learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities.
- Lewisham Parent and Carer’s Forum (LPCF) – This is a voluntary group of Lewisham parents and carers of children and young people (0-25 years) with special/additional needs and disabilities (SEND) living in the London Borough of Lewisham.
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) – If you are a parent and have concerns about your child’s mental health, please contact:
- 020 3260 5200 – Bexley
- 020 8315 4430 – Bromley
- 020 3260 5211 – Greenwich
- 020 3228 7370 – Lambeth
- 020 7138 1250 – Lewisham
- 020 3228 7777 – Southwark
Dementia Friends by Alzheimer’s Society provides support to patients and their families. This initiative is aimed at changing people’s perception of dementia, educating more people about dementia and the small ways that everyone can help.
Coping with bereavement
Bereavement support – Information on bereavement, where to go for support, and suggestions for helping yourself and others through grief.
Find further guidance about coping with bereavement, including information about the stages of grief to help you recognise that what you may be going through is normal.
You can also access this list of organisations and resources that can be helpful during bereavement:
- Cruse Bereavement Care offers free, confidential support for adults and children when someone dies, by telephone, email or face-to-face. Call 0808 808 1677.
- Carers UK provides information, advice and support to carers and their families, as well as information for carers who have suffered a bereavement. Call 0808 808 7777.
- Miscarriage Association offers support and information for those suffering with a pregnancy loss. Call 01924 200 799 between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
- Bereavement Advice Centre offers advice on all aspects of bereavement from registering a death to finding a funeral director as well as probate, tax and benefit queries. Call 0800 634 9494.
- Support after suicide if you have lost someone close to you through suicide.
Helpline & support groups
Whether you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, get information on helplines and support groups that can offer expert advice in south east London.
Looking for tips and expert advice to help loved ones who are worried or anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Learn how to help them look after their mental health and wellbeing during this time.
Support for families struggling under the Coronavirus pandemic is available on Families Under Pressure – 8 short films featuring recognisable voices offering parenting tips and informative resources.