Opening up and asking for help can be difficult for people. If you think someone you know is struggling with their mental health, getting the support from a co-worker, family or a friend could be all the difference to them seeking help and for their recovery.

Mental Health Movement have created this simple to follow support scaffold you can follow when supporting someone.

step 1: assess the situation, approach and assist the individual

• Identify if you are the best person to be supporting this individual
• Make sure you yourself are in the best place mentally to be supporting this individual
• Find a safe and confidential environment
• Make sure you approach them at a moment when you can give them the time they may need to be supported
• Be empathetic and non-judgemental, your body language is also important

step 2: Start the conversation

• Try and get the individual talking
• Ask open ended questions and build rapport by finding common ground
• Acknowledge any changes you have seen in them. Let them know why you are starting this conversation
• Remember a conversation is more than just “R U OK?”

step 3: Listen

• It is important you listen and communicate without judgement
• Don’t tell them what to do or compare your struggles, this is about them
• Don’t dismiss their struggles, acknowledge what they are telling you
• Actively listen, don’t do all the talking

step 4: give consistent support

• Be sensitive, positive and encouraging, don’t open up the conversation to tick a box

step 5: Encourage and link individual to appropriate supports

• Provide them with options for services and supports, these can be found here

step 6: follow up

• Make sure you check back in with the individual to see how they are coping. Remember your role is not to provide answers, solutions or a diagnosis. Your role is to provide care and support and help link them to further services


Don’t forget that part of caring for someone else is to also care for yourself. Taking the time to care for yourself will help prevent you personally becoming physically rundown. It will also allow you to deal with and process the thoughts, emotions and stress that can be associated with caring for someone who may be mentally unwell.