How Can I Be A Better Support To Others With Mental Health Challenges?

Young Family Walking

Irrespective of upbringing, age, culture, or beliefs, we each face difficulties and disappointments in life, and there’s little more distressing than witnessing a loved one struggle with mental illness.

During the October 2021 General Conference, Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy reminded members of the Church that mental illness “is worldwide, covering every continent and culture, and affecting all”.

Sometimes it may seem obvious when someone is facing mental health challenges, but often there isn’t a simple way of distinguishing a moment of depression from mental illness. However, regardless of a diagnosis, it’s always important to respond with compassion to someone who is struggling.

Educate Yourself

The first thing you can do to better support others is learn how to notice signs of a mental illness and how best to respond to those signs. If you know a person well, you might notice changes in behaviour or mood. If a person is struggling for several weeks or longer, or if symptoms begin interfering with their daily life, it may be time to seek help.

To learn more about mental illness, including prevention and protection, helpful resources, and how you can best support others,  visit


Family Sitting

Listen To the Needs of Others

One of the most important things we can do as disciples of Jesus Christ is to “mourn with those that mourn” (Mosiah 18:9). This doesn’t require us to have all the answers or take on the burdens of others with no thought of self-care. Rather, it involves listening, being a friend, and supporting without judgement.

Talk with and listen to the needs of your loved ones who are struggling, while understanding that mental illnesses can often create limitations, such as reduced energy and motivation or skewed perceptions of reality.

Seek Help

Depending on the nature of the illness, individuals may require medical, therapeutic, or spiritual care, or perhaps a combination of these. It may be appropriate to encourage or help loved ones find the resources they need.

Professional help is easily accessible through free helplines in your area. Some organisations are listed below…

Befrienders Worldwide (Worldwide)

United for Global Mental Health (Worldwide)

Lifeline (Australia) – 13 11 14

Beyond Blue (Australia) –1300 22 4636

Kids Helpline (Australia) – 1800 55 1800

MensLine (Australia) – 1300 78 99 78

Lifeline (New Zealand) –1800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

Suicide Crisis Helpline (New Zealand) – 0508 828 865

Samaritans (New Zealand) – 0800 726 666

Youthline (New Zealand) – 0800 376 633 or free text 234

Lifeline (Fiji) – 1543

Suicide Prevention Resource Centre (Samoa) – 1800 273 8255

You can also speak to your bishop about utilising Family Services, which offers support and professional counselling to individuals and families.

Practice self-care

Concerns for another’s mental health can cause stress in your own life, so it’s important to be aware of your own limits and health.

Sometimes, this can mean taking a moment to do something peaceful or enjoyable, like spending time outside, reading a book, listening to music, or meditating. Other times, you may feel the need to speak to a trusted friend or professional. Be conscious of your own mental health journey and ask for help if you have any concerns about your own welfare or that of others.