Supporting someone else

Supporting Someone Else

Looking for mental health resources can seem complicated when you don’t know where to start. You can always ask health professionals (like a doctor or nurse) or mental health professionals (like a school counsellor) for mental health services.


If you are in an emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance. Available 24/7 Canada-wide.

eMental Health

If you are looking for referrals for toward appropriate services for mental health or substance abuse difficulties in your region, you can search for services here:

Crisis Services Canada

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or if you are in distress, call 1-833-456-4566. You can also text TALK to 686868. Available 24/7 Canada-wide.

Resource Locator

If you are looking for resources available in your area (for residences of Ottawa and Gatineau only), you can enter your postal code in the field below:


Mental health problems can manifest themselves differently from person to person. The intensity of symptoms may also differ, which can make certain problems hard to recognize. However, recovery is possible with the right treatment and support. Early intervention can be key in preventing the development of further problems or the severity of existing problems.


Some general signs/symptoms include shifts in mood and behavior, changes in appetite and sleep, social isolation, different thinking, worry, etc. Not all changes in mood or behavior constitute a mental health problem; life events can impact people’s functioning. That’s why it is important to consult with a mental health professional (see square above). For more specific information on mental health problems, please see the section Common Mental Health Problems.

Talking about it. Sometimes the person you are worried about may come to you for support. Other times, you may have to start the conversation. Let the person know you are open, ready to listen, and there for them. If the person does not wish to talk to you, ask them to consider speaking with a health professional (e.g., school counselor, doctor) and to seek appropriate resources (see square above).
Here are a few things to consider when you have a talk with someone:
  • Plan what you are going to say
  • Think about an appropriate time to talk
  • Think about an environment that makes you and the person you are talking to feel safe
  • If you are unsure about something, ask questions
  • Do not judge or assume anything
  • Be empathetic and caring
  • Let the person know you are there for them
  • Offer to learn about mental health problems with the person and to find appropriate resources
  • Use “I” statements when you talk “I am concerned about you. It seems like you are facing challenges. Is there anything I can help you with?”
  • Compare mental health problems to physical problems“Medication can help treat symptoms when someone has a flu. If the flu isn’t taken care of, it can develop into something more severe like pneumonia. We see a doctor when something isn’t right with our health; mental health is the same. Many treatments exist like cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, family therapy, etc. That’s why it’s important to see a mental health professional. They can help find the proper solutions.”
  • Be patient - recovery can be a long process

It can be hard to witness someone you know struggle with their mental health. It is important to take care of yourself too. Sometimes you might want to express your worry with someone you do not know directly (e.g., a counsellor). You may also want to think about setting boundaries on how much support you can offer. If you feel like you could benefit from support, please see the section supporting yourself.