Youth and Mental Health 101

Conversation starters

Get help from others

Get help from others

The kind of help that your friend or family member may need will depend on how they’re feeling, and what types of support they’re comfortable receiving.

It is usually a good idea to suggest that the person also talk to someone else about their concerns. (It is good for them, and good for you too—it means you’re not the only person who is looking out for them.)

If your friend or family member is uncomfortable reaching out like this, you can offer to be there with them or to connect with someone else for them.

Start by showing them that you care about them.

You could say:

"It sounds like things might be getting more serious for you lately. I’m worried about you."

"I haven’t seen you a lot lately. I’m worried that something is going on."

Then you may suggest some possible sources of help by saying:

"Have you talked to anyone else about getting some help? / Do you want to talk to someone for more support?"

"Maybe you could reach out to _______ again? / Or try speaking with _______?" (Use the list of resources in this tutorial or mention someone you know they’re close to.)

"Do any of those options seem doable for you?"

Maybe this isn’t an option your friend or family member is ready for now, but opening this conversation shows that you’re there if they want to talk more. If the person’s challenges continue, remind them that you are there for them.

In this situation, you should reach out to someone who can help you figure out what to do next or can reach out to your friend or family member directly. If their behaviours start to become more alarming, they may need more immediate support. Examples might be big changes in their mood, a major change in their regular activities, increased use of alcohol or other drugs or talking about suicide or self-harm.

Youth and Mental Health 101 © , CAMH.