20 Little Ways to Support Someone Struggling With Mental Illness

The belief that many people who are depressed, suicidal, anxious or struggle with a chronic conditions are “doing it for attention” is not usually accurate. Most of the time, we don’t want to be bothered, or rather, we don’t want to bother you with the demons we’re hiding. But sometimes, offering us a helping hand or a caring thought can be enough to show us that you are here and supporting us in this fight.


Here are 20 little ways you can show a friend, family member or coworker you are there for them when they are struggling:

1. Ask them if they’ve been sleeping OK.

2. Ask if they’ve had anything to eat.

3. Ask them if they’ve been taking their medications.

4. Ask them if they’d like to talk about anything.

5. Ask them about one of their favorite memories.

6. Make them a cup of tea or coffee, whatever they find more soothing.

7. Cook them dinner.

8. Make a date with them. Whether they are a partner, friend or sibling, it doesn’t matter. Just spending time with them can be comforting.

9. Craft together — paint, draw, sculpt or crochet.

10. Make a list of reasons that you love them. And give it to them.

11. Tell them about your day. This can bring them out of their own head.

12. Tell them a joke.

13. Tell them a secret. Show them that you trust and believe in them.

14. Tell them a story or share one of your favorite memories with them.

15. Tell them about a recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read.

16. Offer to do their dishes, their laundry or help them clean.

17. Offer to go somewhere with them. Get out of the house and do something fun.

18. Offer to paint their nails or do their makeup. Being pampered is a wonderful feeling.

19. Offer to brush or style their hair for them. If they’re anything like me, nothing is more calming than a soothing touch.

20. Offer to go for a walk or do yoga with them. Exercise is truly a great medicine when everything else feels like it is falling apart.

Nothing on this list takes all that much time. But they take enough time to show someone you care. And sometimes, small gestures that show you are worth it to others is enough. 

We don’t money, gifts or extravagant distractions. We just need love and acceptance.

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Thinkstock photo via AlexBrylov

20 Little Ways to Support Someone Struggling With Mental Illness

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