Student Health and Wellness Services

Start the Conversation Around Mental Health

Have you noticed a change in someone close to you? Are you concerned about someone you’re close to? Talking to your friend, family member, or partner could save a life and help them get the help they need.

We know you’re concerned about saying the wrong this. Here are some conversation starters to get the ball rolling:

Try one of these opening lines:

  • “Maybe it’s me, but I was wondering if you were all right”
  • “I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately. What’s going on?”
  • “Hey, we haven’t talked in a while. How are you?”
  • “Seems like you haven’t been yourself lately. What’s up?”
  • “Whenever you’re ready to talk, I’m ready to listen.”

During the conversation - No need to be an expert, just be a friend. These tips should make starting the conversation about mental health a lot less awkward:

  • Listen up. Let them take the lead.
  • Promote hope.
  • Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
  • Keep it casual. Relax: think of it as a chill chat, not a therapy session.
  • Avoid offering advice or trying to fix their problems.
  • Let them know it’s OK to feel the way they do.
  • Make yourself available. Be the friend they can rely on.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Help them to talk, not just say “yes” or “no”.
  • Let them open up at their own speed.
  • Don’t demand answers or force them to say anything they’re not ready to.
  • Tell them you won’t ever judge them.
  • Let them know that this won’t change how you feel about them.
  • Ask them if they’ve seen a doctor. Encourage them to talk to an expert. Contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 909-869-3220, or call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).