How to be supportive

​Recognizing what the person you care about is going through and providing them with support can make a huge difference in their recovery. Below are some resources to help you understand how to be there during their journey, from recognizing the issue to seeking help and getting treatment.

*If someone you know is in a mental health emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest hospital. 

Tips for Being Supportive

  • Acknowledgment: Listen to your friend and acknowledge the way they are feeling. Often, people with mental illness can feel like they are misunderstood; try to understand where they're coming from.  
  • Patience: The road to recovery may be long and bumpy. Everyone is different, so it may take some time to find the right tools and treatment. Have the patience to walk along on this journey with them. 
  • Real life support: Mental illness may relate to real life problems, for example, in the workplace, school, social life, or relationships. Helping to support the person you care about in their life challenges can help to support their well-being. 
  • In crisis: Crisis is a time that can be scary, but it can also be a time for learning. You may be able to provide an external view for the person you care about in regards to how they may be able to grow from this experience. 
  • Caring for yourself: If you feel healthy and connected, you will be more effective in providing support. 
  • Watch our video below where we've collected responses from youth with lived experience on how to support a loved one with depression. 

Outside Resources

  • General Mental Health: Learn how to support friends with mental disorders with Here to Help BC's a tip sheet for friends and families. Mind Your Mind is a more youth-geared resource that when, where, and how you can get help for a friend, click "my friend needs help." Kids Help Phone also take a more youth-friendly approach with their tipsheet on "How to Help a Friend".
  • Anxiety: Anxiety BC identifies what can be unhelpful and helpful strategies for friends and family looking to support those struggling with anxiety.
  • Suicide: Dealing with someone who has thoughts of suicide? Both Crisis Centre BC and Here to Help BC have fact sheets on recognizing the warning signs and what you can do to help.
  • Self-harm: If the person you care about is hurting themselves on purpose, read Here to Help BC's fact sheet on recognizing and helping someone who self harm.