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Supporting Someone with Mental Health Difficulties

When someone you care about is struggling, it can be really difficult and you may experience a mix of emotions: concern, disbelief, anger, anxiety, compassion… this is normal and understandable.

Providing support to someone else can be draining, leaving you feeling exhausted. It is important to notice the impact of this on your own mental health and wellbeing. Before you can support them, you need to make sure you are supported and looking after yourself.


Some ways to mind yourself

Know your limits

            Be realistic about what support you can offer and try not to take on too much.

Get support

Talk to someone you trust or link in with the student counselling service.

Take a break

      Make time to do something nice for yourself.


Ways to support your friend


      Listen more than you talk. Ask open ended questions, “how are you feeling?” to encourage them to talk.

Be there as someone they can trust

      Let them know you care, spend time with them, chat over a cup of tea- avoid drugs and alcohol

Don’t assume you know what’s best for them

      Everyone experiences life differently. Don’t try to “fix things”. Instead, ask your friend how they would like to be supported.

Normalise mental health

      Talk about it. It’s ok not to be ok. Make sure your friend hears that.

Encourage them to get support

      Make it ok to need help, offer to go with them to whatever support service they decide on.


Let them know you care


What to do if they don’t want help?

While it can be frustrating when someone you care about doesn’t want help, there are limits to what you can do. Try to be patient with them, be there, ready to help, but do not push them.


Time to get extra help

If you have talked to your friend and are still worried, it may be time to contact a family member and tell them your concerns. Attend UL Éist during drop-in hours (Room CM073, 10am & 2pm) and express concern for your friend. Try and encourage your friend to come.


Check out our e-resources and helpline information leaflet for some more support services in the Limerick area.


In an emergency call the Emergency Services on 112 or 999.

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