Worried about someone?
If you are worried about a friend, colleague or relative, why not ask how they are and give time in your day to listen to them. Asking and demonstrating that you care could be a life saver.
Be a listening ear
You don't have to be able to solve their problem or even to understand it fully, but listening to what they say will let them know you care.
Remember that for some people talking about their problems might not be easy. Try not to make judgements about their behaviours and thoughts.
We know that stigma surrounding emotional distress, mental health problems and suicidal thoughts is still prevalent in our society, so not judging they way a person feels or acts and helping someone overcome their fears about getting help are very important.
Getting professional help
Showing you care is very important but sometimes encouraging someone to access appropriate professional help is most important. Encourage the person to go to their GP. You might even offer to go with them.
If they are in contact with mental health services already and have a Key Worker (a Support Worker, Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) or Social Worker) encourage them to contact this person.
Understanding their situation
Seeing someone we care about becoming increasingly distressed, depressed or acting out of character can be a very painful experience. It can leave us feeling helpless, we might be tempted to jump in and try and sort out the situation without thinking our actions through or we might simply not know what to do. In this situation it is important you get some support yourself, or try to get some more understanding of what is happening to the person you care for.
In case of emergency
If someone you know is in immediate danger of seriously harming/killing themselves or endangering someone else:
- Contact their existing Key Worker if they have one, or their GP practice.
- Contact Social Services Emergency Duty Team on 01228 526690.
If you cannot get through anywhere else and you believe that the person is at immediate risk call 999 and state clearly that you have someone with you that is at risk of taking their own life (or endangering another).
As a guide, it often helps if you can offer any relevant information about the person. This will include:
- Their personal details including address and telephone number
- Where they are
- Information about your experience of how they are
- Unusual behaviours or out of character behaviours
- What they have said
- Their history of mental illness or use of drugs and alcohol if any
The actions above could lead to the person being detained under the mental health act (sectioned) in hospital and treated without their consent. Also be aware that this might in fact be the best solution for the person at the time.