If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Supporting Men

Having a Conversation

If someone you know is showing signs of a mental health problem, it is important to talk to him and take action.

Starting that conversation can be difficult, but there are things that can help:

Find a private place where you think he will feel comfortable and won’t be overheard.

Pick a time when he is not rushed. Could you ask him to go for a walk to grab a coffee or go for a drive?

Tell him what you have noticed – let him know about the changes you’re worried about and why they’ve made you concerned.

For example, “I’ve noticed that you seem less motivated at work, how’re things going?” or “I haven’t seen you at the pub lately, what’s been happening?”

Try asking questions that will get more than a one-word answer. For example, “How long has it been like this?” is more likely to start a discussion than “Has it been a while?” which will get a “yes” or “no” answer. These types of open questions are a good tool get a conversation going.

Listen without judgement, don’t interrupt and acknowledge his feelings. These things can be hard to hear but they’re generally harder to say. Even if you see things differently, try to put yourself in his shoes. Let him know that you hear him and can see where he’s coming from. For example, “It sounds like you are having a really hard time”.

Reassure him that it is okay to feel the way he does. Let him know that help is available and that he will get back on track. You might say, “There are things that can help when we’re doing it tough, a doctor could point you in the right direction. You got this, mate”

Support him in taking positive steps to improve his mental health. This might be starting an exercise program alongside him, making an appointment with a GP or simply getting him out of the house to do the groceries or catch up with mates.

It takes strength to admit when you’re doing it tough and ask for help or take action. Let him know that this won’t break him, it will only make him stronger, and encourage him to keep taking steps in a positive direction.

Stay in touch and check in again soon. You could say “Hey mate, how’s it going? I found this website the other day, might be worth checking out?” or “How did you go with the GP?”

Remember, you are there to support him, but you are not expected to diagnose or fix his problems. Check in on yourself to make sure you’re going okay and ask for support if you need it.