Make sure you have no distractions
Try your best to provide an open and non judgemental space where you can give your full attention to that person. Listen carefully and repeat what they say back to them. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying but you are letting them know you respect their feelings.
It’s natural to worry when someone you care about tells you that they are struggling. Try to respond sensitively keeping language neutral. Give them space to fully express how they feel and try not to grill them with too many questions.
Let them share
Let them take the lead in the conversation and go at their own pace. Don’t push them to tell you things they aren’t ready to share, you might be the first person they have had the courage to talk to.
Don’t try to diagnose their feelings
Chances are you aren’t a medical expert and as much as you naturally want to offer support you probably aren’t a trained counsellor either. Try not to jump to conclusions or find solutions when all they really need in that moment is someone beside them.
Support their well-being
Help them to sustain their wellbeing. If there is anything that they find particularly helpful ask if you can do those things together. Maybe it’s exercise, cooking or listening to music together.
Learn as much as you can
Learn about what they are going through and offer them help in seeking further support. Talk to the person you are supporting about the symptoms they experience when they are becoming unwell. There are many resources available that you can help them to access. This can take many forms, from visiting a GP to peer support groups. You might want to offer to help them talk to a friend or family member.
Know your limits.
Make sure you ask for help if you feel the situation is serious. If you think they are in danger or need medical attention it is important to take action to keep them safe.