If someone you care about is struggling in tough times such as the loss of a loved one, home or job, is depressed or perhaps they are misusing alcohol or drugs, you may feel helpless. The change in your loved one's or friend's behaviour may be so big that you feel you no longer know him or her.

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Support and encourage the person
  • Talk to the person about your concerns
  • Stop hiding the problem. Sometimes people around the person with the problem may try to cover up the problem, and at time can help the problem continue.
  • Help the person get treatment or stay in treatment. This is the best thing you can do.
  • Get information. Learn about depression or substance abuse.
  • Help the person have good health habits
  • Get help for yourself. You can get support even if the person with the problem doesn’t want to get help.
  • Know the warning signs of suicide, such as talking a lot about death or giving things away and writing a will. If you notice them, call the doctor.

Call 911 or emergency help if you think:

  • The person is going to harm himself or herself or others. For example, the person has a written plan or a weapon or is saving (stockpiling) medicines.
  • The person is hearing or seeing things that are not real
  • The person seems to be thinking or speaking in a bizarre way that is unlike his or her usual behaviour

How to help someone struggling with: