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27 Ways to Help Someone Who's Struggling With Their Mental Illness Today

The most helpful emails in health
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When you’re struggling with any type of mental illness, some days may seem easier than others. Although we hope that our good days outweigh the bad, when we do experience those difficult days, it can make all the difference when others are there to lift us up.

That’s why we asked our Mighty mental health community to tell us one thing someone can do for them if they’re struggling with mental health today. So if you’re having a difficult day today, or you know someone who may be struggling, this is for you.

Here is what they had to say:

1. “Tag me in memes. It might sound silly to some people, but it helps cheer me up and makes me happy to know someone is thinking of me.” — Katie L.

2. “Remind me of the value I have as a human. Listen more than you talk. Let me talk even if it makes no sense. Please don’t tell me I should not feel this way. Be tough, but with love and kindness. Be honest, cry with me. Be my friend not just an acquaintance.” — Gregg A.

3. “Come see me. On a bad day I will avoid the one thing I need most: human contact. It doesn’t matter what they do when they get here — chat, watch movies, clean — anything. It’s just nice to have someone there.” — Jenny B.

4. “The friends I get the most from on bad days are not human — they’re my pets! They just hang out with me, snuggle, no judgment of my messy hair and tear-soaked face. Usually, no words can comfort, so simply their company is the best thing.” — Morticia M.

5. “Acknowledge me and what I might be going through that day. Simple acknowledgment means the world to me. Just seeing me.” — Ronnie K.

6. “I helped talk a friend down from her attack this morning just by being someone that understood and didn’t judge. I gave her tips on how to breathe and talk to herself. Simply being there at the time you’re needed is sometimes the best thing!” — Jenna Z.

7. “Let me vent to them when I need to even if they have absolutely nothing to say because they don’t know much about what I’m going through.” — Aryana S.

8. “Open a bottle of aromatherapy and bring it to me so that I begin smelling it before I see what is going on. Frankincense and lavender both help me get grounded when I am dissociating.” — Stephanie K.

9. “Talk to me, laugh and be our weird selves together. Just talk to me about anything, I mean literally anything that will divert my attention. Distract me with happy memories, humor me with corny jokes and laugh as loud as we can. Just being there and talking to me will help me a lot.” — Lucille M.

10. “Research depression. And post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because [you] don’t struggle from it, but want to understand me and my mental illness.” — Ariel L.

11. “Don’t treat me any differently. I’m always worried that if I say I’m having an off day, my friends will be more careful about what they say or feel like they’re walking on eggshells around me. Unless I specifically say otherwise, I just want us to talk and interact like we always do. Our natural friendship is one of the things I find helpful and I don’t want anything to change that.” — Jamie L.

12. “Take the initiative to check on me. When I’m struggling, I can’t bring myself to tell anyone I’m not OK, I’m afraid I’ll burn out or scare away every friend I have. If you ask me first, I’m more likely to be able to answer that I’m not OK.” — Jennifer K.

13. “Just do the tiniest nice thing. A post-it on my desk at work with a smiley face drawn on it. A piece of chocolate. Just any reminder that there’s still good things left in this world.” — Anne L.

14. “The only thing — and person — who can help ease a bad mental health day is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and being able to binge watch with my best friend in Kentucky (I live in Illinois). And same goes for her. We may be states apart but we know that watching our favorite show together can be the only thing to boost our mood, even if only for a few hours.” — Erin P.

15. “To be hugged or held by a friend. Physical contact helps one thing to feel slightly less vague and intangible.” — Michael J.

16. “Make me get off the couch, even if it’s to go on an errand, out for coffee or to walk around the block. Like, not make me in a mean way, but they need to be a little pushy at least or I’ll stay in the dark and spiral deeper.” — Jen L.

17. “Bringing me treats without the expectation of being social. Just a little pick-me-up and reminder that I’m not alone with the option to spend time together if I’m up for it without feeling anxious or obligated to do so.” — Amanda R.

18. “To say it’s OK. It’ll be better tomorrow. Or maybe it’ll take a little longer than that, but it will be better. Take a deep breath and take care of yourself. When I’m deep in my depression, I just really need someone to remind me of these things and to spend a little time with me.” — Emily S.

19. “Send me YouTube clips of Impractical Jokers. Those guys are so funny, and although such an action doesn’t take away my mental health issues, I sure appreciate the distraction during a moment where I wasn’t able to get out of my head on my own.“ — Jolene K.

20. “Help me come up with a constructive outlet for the excess energy instead of my mind coming up with harmful ones. A ‘Hey why don’t we… go for a walk/play a game/do a puzzle/watch a movie together’ could possibly go a long way in getting me to come back to the present and assess what is really going on.” — Rachel C.

21. “Bring me some coffee. Coffee is how I cope when I don’t have the mental and emotional energy to get through the day. I had a coworker who would randomly do that; she would bring me coffee when she went to lunch and it really helped me. It made me realize that small things in life, simple pleasures such as coffee help me make it through the day. That coworker is now my best friend.” — Jessica H.

22. “Ring me and tell me they miss me and that they can’t wait to see me again and suggest a date to meet up. When I feel that no one cares and can’t possibly want to waste spending their time with me, that means the world. Just having people that understand I isolate because of fear that they will reject me, not because I am lazy or I don’t bother making an effort, to see them is everything.” — Vanessa B.

23. “Leave me alone until I feel comfortable enough to open up to them. When I’m feeling down I need a good few days to myself to figure out what I’m feeling and why (if there’s even a reason why).” — Kyle C.

24. “I sometimes tend to need validation. Someone to say that it’s OK to have anxiety and that I can stay in bed for the whole day without feeling like a total failure.” — Mirka O.

25. “Help restock my refrigerator or cook me a warm meal. I probably haven’t been eating or I’ve only been snacking at best. Watch a funny movie with me.” — Meghan K.

26. “Send me pictures of their pets. I absolutely love seeing their fur babies and makes me feel more connected to my friends. Huge for when I am struggling.” — Christine L.

27. “Just say: I love you and I’m holding space for you. You aren’t alone and thank you for allowing me to be here with you to remind you.” — Alanna B.

What would you add?

Originally published: October 12, 2017
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