Mental Health: 10 Ways to Help

Mental Health: 10 Ways to Help

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Nearly 46% of Americans are expected to meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition in their life, half of which will develop conditions by age 14, according to Mental Health America. That’s why it’s important to know the signs and solutions. Our individual actions and understanding can be life changing.

As the leader of HopeLink Behavioral Health (formerly PRS), a regional nonprofit that delivers behavioral health and suicide and crisis intervention services, I approach the month from various vantage points. What we’ve seen over the years is that it’s becoming more common for individuals and families to discuss behavioral health and to seek and get help. Keeping information about mental health flowing and accessible remains vital for us to continue the progress and ensure we can help our loved ones and help ourselves. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ways to be part of the solution to change and even save lives. I hope you will consider sharing these with friends and family.


10 Ways to Be a Mental Health Supporter

  1.  Listen: Listen for signs of distress from loved ones or friends such as talking about wanting to die, ending their life, having no reason to live, being trapped, or being a burden to others.
  2.  Watch: Observe for signs that can indicate a mental health crisis such as increased use of alcohol or drugs or impulsive or reckless behavior.
  3.  Ask: Ask the tough question. When somebody you know is in emotional pain, ask them directly: "Are you thinking about killing yourself?"
  4. Follow Up: Check in with the person you care about on a regular basis.
  5. Connect: Help connect people to resources. For an immediate crisis, encourage them to call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Or visit your county’s local community services board for more resources.
  6. Keep Them Safe: Ask if they've thought about a plan and remove access to lethal means of self-harm.
  7. Normalize: The more information that gets shared, the less stigma there is about mental health, and the more likely people will seek help. Consider using social channels or discuss mental health openly with friends and family.
  8. Donate: Support local and national mental health nonprofits that are working to save and change lives. It matters and works.
  9. Advocate: Being a voice with local, state, and federal government ensures that mental health is front and center and that funding for mental health programs exists. Write letters/emails to officials in support of mental health funding and legislation.
  10. Volunteer: Nonprofits need volunteers whether helping with fundraising events, walking in a 5K, or answering crisis calls. Check in with mental health nonprofits like ours to learn about ways you can make a difference.

We’ve come a long way in the past decade. This May, we encourage you to join the movement to prioritize mental health. We have more tips for Mental Health Awareness Month on our website at If we are successful, one day “mental” health will simply be a discussion about health. Visit