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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

Please note:

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.

Useful information

  • Talking about suicide saves lives

    Most people contemplating suicide may not want to die; they just want to stop the pain and distress they are experiencing. If you are worried that someone is feeling suicidal talk to them, it could save their life.

  • Look after yourself

    Caring for someone with a mental health problem or being involved in worrying situations can be difficult and demanding. Try to get the support you need. Talk with someone you trust or explore what services are offered by your local Carers organisation or GP.

    Visit our help and resources section to find organisations who provide help and support for family, friends and carers.

  • Find help and support

    There are lots of ways to get support in your area. Look on our Help and Resources pages for more information.

    Alternatively you can call MindLine Cumbria on 0300 561 0000  to talk your situation through. We can help you to explore your options and find the most appropriate ways to get support.

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