Someone who is experiencing mental health difficulties is usually able to live a successful full life, particularly if they are receiving help to manage their illness. By getting information on how to help someone with a mental illness, you could help them feel more comfortable accessing help.

Topic Videos

How knowing the warning signs of suicide could save a life

Tiana's best friend suicided when she was 15.
'What if..?' were the words that occupied Tiana's mind for months after Shae's death. She asked herself again and again what she could've done differently to catch her friend before it was too late.

Check out the blog Tiana also wrote here on TINO and below is the information featured on the cards Tiana has developed.

The 7 Warning Signs of Suicide

beyondblue Information Line: 1300 22 46 36

  • Making Direct or indirect threats about suicide
  • Dramatic changes in personality, appearance or mood
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • A dramatic drop in performance at school or work
  • Feelings of guilt or low self-esteem
  • Saying goodbye and giving personal belongings away
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Author: Propeller Project
  • Upload Date: 2014-04-07

This video was created by the FYA Propreller Project - helping young people create ideas and make them fly.

Stories on this Topic

Featured Story (text)

U need 2 ask

U need 2 ask

A work by Shanlee

My whole life I haven't had much money. My mum is a single mother and she has found it extremely hard to put food on the table. We have had to live very simply and have not really had many luxuries like the internet, phones, iPods, iPhone, things like that. On top of that my mum has had many emotional, and mental problems that we have had to deal with, without any support from our family, but we found help. I just want to encourage people to speak up and ask for help if they need it.

Click to read the text

A testimony that shows people there is hope. All they need to do is ask.

  • Author: Shanlee
  • Upload Date: 2011-07-19

I hope that my story will encourage people, n that it will help people to speak up.


Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

Supporting a friend with mental health difficulties

Helping a friend up who has fallen downSomeone who is experiencing mental health difficulties is usually able to live a successful full life, particularly if they are receiving help to manage their illness.

However, it is not uncommon for stigma to be attached to experiencing mental health difficulties. This often causes people to feel embarrassed. Often people with mental health difficulties worry that people will tease them or treat them differently.

There are some things that you may want to do to help your friend feel more comfortable, these are:

  • Avoid being judgmental
  • Being aware of the stigma. Keeping an open mind may help to create a safe environment for your friend which may mean they are more likely to relax and enjoy themselves.
  • Talk about what they find helpful
  • Make conversations about their mental health difficulties easy and open. Try asking about what helps them when things are tough. By talking openly, you are letting the person know about your love and support for them. You may like to talk about what you have read and ask how they feel about it.
  • Respect your friend's limits

There may be times when your friend says they are not able to do something because of their illness. It is important that you respect this and don't put extra pressure on them. Often those who are taking medication are not able to drink alcohol (and shouldn't take any other drugs either). This may make it hard for your friend in certain social situations. If you know that your friend is unable to drink, it may be a helpful that when you do hang out to choose to do something that doesn't involve alcohol and/or drugs.

Encouraging your friend to stay with their medication

It is likely that someone with a long-term mental illness will be on regular medication. This may have side effects, which mean your friend may not enjoy taking the medication. However, medication is often an important part of managing the illness, and your friend may need your support to stick at it.

If your friend stops using or changes the amount of medication they use without getting the OK from their psychiatrist or doctor, encourage them to make an appointment quickly. If they are experiencing side effects that weren't expected they should also contact their psychiatrist or doctor.

Ensure that you have contact numbers

Having the contact numbers of people like their psychologist, doctor or psychiatrist is often important in helping your friend through a crisis. It means that you can contact someone who knows your friend should they be in a situation where they are unsafe.

Getting help for your friend

For those who have a mental health difficulty, there may be periods of time when things are not manageable. Harder times may be triggered if your friend has been over-stressed or there has been a traumatic event or a change in medication. These things can trigger the characteristics of the mental illness they experience. This is often called an 'episode'.

If you are concerned that your friend is not behaving as they normally would, then it is important to encourage them to talk to someone they trust like their doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. If you think that your friend is likely to hurt themselves or someone else find some help immediately even if they don't want you to.

Looking after yourself

Sometimes when we are helping a friend we forget to look after our ourselves. It is important to also take care of your own needs as well as helping your friend. Make sure that you don't give up things that you enjoy, and if you are feeling tired or overwhelmed take some time out and relax.


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