You may have noticed a change in the way a loved one or a friend is behaving, or maybe you think they are not coping with a situation. What can you do to help?

It is often our personal hunches that makes us aware that someone we know might be struggling, even if they say they are fine. In that situation what can you do?

You don't have to be an expert on mental health to talk to someone. Just asking someone how they are can make a big difference. Allowing someone to to talk about things can mean a lot, especially if they have felt they had nobody to talk to. Just knowing you are thinking about them, and that you care, can be a big help. By listening and being supportive they may feel able to open up, and if need be get help. It might not happed straight away, so try not to focus on their feelings too much, just talking about everyday things will help the person to feel normal too. Opening up for the first time about feelings or things that worry us can be a scary thing to do, so be patient.

If you think your friend or loved one needs to speak to a professional, then encourage and support them as much as you can to take that first difficult step. Taking those first steps is going to be really hard, so if they are worried and unsure, offer to be with them when they make the phone call, or why not go with them to their appointment? Just knowing they have your support and understanding will be a huge support.

Suicide Prevention

Don't be afraid to ask someone if they have had suicidal thoughts or if they are thinking of suicide. There is a misconception that by simply asking, you are putting the idea into their head. Openly listening and discussing someone's thoughts of suicide can be a source of relief for them. As mentioned above, asking and listening can be one of the most important steps you can take in supporting someone.

If you believe the person has an immediate suicide plan and means to carry it out then do not leave them alone — get help immediately by phoning 999.

Supporting/Living with Someone Who is Struggling with their Mental Health

At Mind Your Head, our is job not only to look after those who may be struggling with their mental health, but also to make sure that those who are supporting them are getting the help and care that they need.

The Wellness Together Programme is a 6-8 week individual service for those who are supporting, living with, or caring for someone who is struggling with their mental health. You don't have to be a carer to access the Wellness Together Programme. You could be a partner, a parent, a professional, a family member, or even a friend.

To know more about the Wellness Together Programme, see the services section of our website. You can also speak to a member of our team by phoning 01595 745035 (office hours) or leaving a message on our contact form.

Other helpful contacts:

NHS 24111
NHS Inform

Surviving suicidal thoughts

Getting help with your suicidal thoughts

Offering support to someone you're worried is suicidal

Lerwick Police101
Community Mental Health Team01595 743006
NHS Shetland01595 743000
Samaritans116 123
Breathing Space0800 83 85 87
HOPELineUK0800 068 41 41