You may suspect or discover your loved one is dealing with a mental illness, drinking too much, or using drugs. As a family member or friend, you can play a central role in getting them the help they need.

Starting the conversation is the first step. Helpful videos and guides can be found at SAMHSA

How You Can Help:

  1. Identify an appropriate time and place.
    Consider a private setting with limited distractions, such as at home or on a walk.
  2. Express concerns and be direct.
    Ask how they are feeling and describe the reasons for your concern.
  3. Acknowledge their feelings and listen.
    Listen openly, actively, and without judgment
  4. Offer to help.
    Provide reassurance that mental and/or substance use disorders are treatable. Help them locate and connect with treatment services.
  5. Be patient.
    Recognize that change does not happen overnight. Continue reaching out with offers to listen and help.

What to Say:

  • “I’ve been worried about you. Can we talk? If not, who are you comfortable talking to?”
  • “I see you’re going through something. How can I best support you?”
  • “I care about you and am here to listen. Do you want to talk about what’s been going on?”
  • “I’ve noticed you haven’t seemed like yourself lately. How can I help?”