Top 6 tips to supporting a loved one struggling with their mental health


20% of Australians experience mental illness each year*. If someone you love has told you they are struggling with their mental health, you may not be sure what you can do to best support them and keep them safe. 

Here are 6 tips for supporting a loved one struggling with their mental health:

1. Take the backseat approach and just be there to listen. 

Even though you may not always completely understand why the person feels the way they do at certain times, you can still listen non-judgementally (you’re actually not expected to know what to do or have all the answers!)

2. Respond to what they tell you with empathy.

Empathetic responses can sound like: “I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time at the moment,” “I get why you’d feel that way,” or “I’m really glad you felt comfortable to open up to me about this.” 

3. Ask: “What can I do to best support you?”

This one question can make a world of difference to someone struggling with their mental health. Some people will actually have things in mind that they know will be helpful for them. Even if they don’t, the act of you asking shows your support and care – which is likely what they need most.

4. Respect their privacy.

Unless the person is in danger of immediate harm, you should not disclose their mental health to anyone else – except if they explicitly ask you to. Telling you about their mental illness takes a lot of courage, so it should be their choice to decide who, when, and how they tell about the situation. Of course, they have the right to not tell anyone at all – as long as they are safe, this is up to the individual. 

5. Don’t invalidate what they’re telling you.

Being told “grow up,” or “get over it,” can actually be quite harmful to the person. If you don’t know what to say, it’s much better to ask, “Is there anything I can do for you right now?” rather than judge and invalidate, even if unintentional.

6. Don’t try to ‘fix’ them.

We have professionals, medication, self-help and therapy to help manage mental illness symptoms; it is by no means your responsibility. So please don’t think that you need to be their therapist.

The biggest takeaway? 

Do your best to support them and show that you genuinely care.

Supporting someone, though, can take a lot out of you. It’s important to know your limits and ensure that you’re also looking after your mental health at the same time. And don’t forget… all those support services out there are just a phone call away if it’s getting a bit tough.

Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14;
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467;
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800;
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78;
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636.
  • If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800-RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

*ABS, 2018

Resource provided by Meraki Mental Health Training.

READ MORE: Why Greek youth are suffering in silence and the importance of intergenerational dialogue.




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

The Larcos family: Navigating generational trauma from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

The Larcos family could never have anticipated the upheaval that awaited them when they made the decision to relocate from Australia to Cyprus.

A lifetime of diplomacy: A conversation with Prokopis Vanezis

It was an afternoon full of stories—many untold—poetry, dragons, and a single fairy unfolds as the present meets the past to discuss the future.

Cyprus’ cultural heritage is not for sale

For centuries, ancient artefacts, art, and relics have been a topic of ownership, provenance, and morality debates.

Beyond sheftalies: Cypriot Australian youth keep reunification flame burning 50 years on

Young Cypriot Australians, born decades after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, are grappling with the conflict’s enduring legacy.

50 years of occupation: Who remembers Cyprus?

At the Ledra Palace check point in Nicosia, Cyprus stands a red and white sign that reads: ‘TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS FOREVER.'

You May Also Like

Website missing despite NSW Government planning border closure for weeks

The NSW Government announced residents would require a permit to cross between NSW and Victoria, but the Service NSW website does not allow people to apply for a permit.

High school protests turn violent as students throw gasoline bombs at Greek police

Several hundred people, including state school teachers and college students, took part in the protest which was mostly peaceful.

High-achieving Year 12 students honoured by Archbishop Makarios of Australia

The Archbishop of Australia recognised and awarded students from three Greek Orthodox colleges in Sydney for completing their 2023 HSC exams.