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10 things to say (& 10 not to say) to a friend suffering mental health problems

Posted in 1. Mental health resources @ Oct 5th 2018 - By Rosie Overfield
10 Things To Say And 10 Things Not To Say To A Friend Suffering Mental Health Problems

You may have a friend, family member or veterinary colleague suffering from mental health issues.

But knowing what to say to offer help and support can be a challenge.

You don't want to say the wrong thing or something that may make them feel even worse. So what are some things you can say? 

Rosie Overfield, registered counsellor and AVA 'Mental Health First Aid' instructor offers some suggestions about what not to say and more importantly, what you can say to support those around you.

What NOT to say:

1. Cheer up

2. You need to snap out of this

3. There’s always someone else worse off

4. No-one ever said life was easy

5. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. 

6. Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.

7. Haven’t you grown tired of all this “me, me, me” stuff yet?

8. Have you tried herbal tea?

9. You just need to get out more

10. Everyone feels a little OCD at some point

What TO say:

1. I’m here for you

2. You’re not alone in this

3. This must be very hard for you

4. You are not crazy

5. I can’t really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my support

6. What’s been going on for you?

7. What can I do?

8. How would you like to be supported?

9. Life doesn’t have to stay this way

10. Have you spoken to anyone else about how you are feeling?

For more resources visit the Vetanswers Resources Page: Are you ok? Don't let the silence win

Need to talk with someone right now? Call Lifeline 13 11 14

About Rosie

Rosie Overfield is the AVA's Mental Health First Aid instructor. She is a registered counsellor with a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of Human Resources. Rosie started her professional life as a veterinary nurse. She has spent the last 15 years working with vets, nurses and allied team members to help them navigate the challenges of the industry. 

For more information about upcoming MHFA courses, contact Monika Cole at the Australian Veterinary Association or visit 


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