Help yourself and others

People you know may be reacting to some life situations with feelings of anxiety or depression. This is common, especially during times of high stress like COVID-19 pandemic. You can help them get the right help with some guidance from experts.

Mental Health First Aid from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing has tips to help support those around you who might be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed. With these tips, you can #BeTheDifference for your loved ones and help them through this challenging time.

  1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm. Identify if they’re experiencing a crisis such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, and address that first. It’s OK to do the assessment over the phone, text or social media. If the person’s life is in immediate danger, call 911.*
  2. Listen non-judgmentally. If the person isn’t in a crisis, ask how they’re feeling and how long they’ve been feeling that way. Pay attention and show you care.*
  3. Give reassurance and information. Your support can have a huge impact on the person. Reassure them that it is appropriate to experience fear, sadness or anxiety during situations like this. Remind them that help is available, and you’ll be there for them along the way.*
  4. Encourage appropriate professional help. Offer to help them find a professional for support, such as a primary care physician, mental health professional, psychiatrist or certified peer specialist. Behavioral health care providers can provide services by phone and/or secure videoconferencing, so they will be able to maintain physical distancing.*
  5. Encourage self-help and other support strategies. Self-help strategies and reaching out for support from family, friends, faith communities and others who have experienced depression or anxiety (peer supporters) can make a difference.*

Mental Health First Aid also offers resources for self-care strategies that can help manage symptoms of anxiety or depression whether they are your own or you are helping a loved one.


National Council for Mental Well Being


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