How to Talk to Someone About Getting Help
Talking to a loved one about getting help can be hard, but it can make a big difference. Listen without judgment and speak with kindness.
Remember that it takes a lot of strength for someone to open up about the challenges they face. It may take many conversations before they get help.
Ask open ended questions
Open-ended questions mean that the person has to reply with more than a “yes” or “no.” Usually, open-ended questions start with how, what, or where. Some examples are:
- What are the good things about ___?
- What are the not-so-good things about ___?
- What do you think you will lose if you give up ___?
- How would you like things to be different?
- What do you miss?
Take time to be curious and understand what their fears are.
During your conversation, comment on their strengths. It can be easy to tell them all the things they’re doing wrong, but it can close them off to asking for help. Thank them for being willing to speak with you.
If they don’t want to talk, let them know that you’ll be there when they’re ready.
Show you're listening
Listen carefully to what they’re saying. When it’s your turn to talk, repeat back what you heard them say. This helps them to feel understood and corrects any misunderstandings. You can do this by saying, “I heard you say____.”
Bring it all together
These conversations can be about many different feelings and plans. At the end of your talk, give a summary of what you heard them say and any actions they want to take. If they want to get help, ask how you can support them. Also ask if you can follow up with them to check in.
Remind them that talking about this takes a lot of courage and asking for help is a big step.
Get more tips for talking to children, teens, and young adults.
Find more information on how to support members of your community, family, friends, and students.