How to find a trusted adult to talk to

How to find a trusted adult to talk to

Great relationships give life significantly more purpose, and in business, they translate to resources, advice and stability. Trust is at the heart of these connections.

These 15 signs are dead giveaways that you’re dealing with a keeper:

1. They are consistent.

A trustworthy person will use roughly the same behavior and language in any situation. They have the self-control to maintain character and follow through on what they say they’ll do, even when they are tempted to walk it back. They won’t wear different masks or pretend they’re someone they’re not just to impress. Switching gears comes from having learned reliable new information, not from self-serving whims. What’s more, what they say matches what you hear from others.

2. They show compassion and humility.

Both these traits demonstrate that the person can think of others well and doesn’t consider themselves as more important than anyone else. Because they are more outwardly focused, they’re less likely to step on your toes or betray you to get something they need or want.

3. They respect boundaries.

Trustworthy individuals don’t try to impose their will on others because they don’t feel the need to control those around them. They avoid bullying and acknowledge that no means no.

4. They compromise and don’t expect something for nothing.

Small sacrifices show that the individual recognizes that trust is a two-way street. They’re willing to give a little to get something back later. And if they do ask for something, they’re sure to demonstrate the value of their request.

5. They’re relaxed (and so are you).

A person who is faking it and who is more likely to behave in shady ways usually will display some signs of anxiety, such as agitated body language. If the person seems at ease, they likely have nothing to hide and are being honest and open with you. You’ll likely feel calm, too, because you won’t be subconsciously picking up on and mirroring back negative cues.

6. They are respectful when it comes to time.

Trustworthy people do their best not to be late or cancel plans at the last minute because they know doing so inconveniences you and violates promises. They won’t try to rush or drag things out for their own benefit.

7. They show gratitude.

Trustworthy individuals are willing to admit they can’t do it all alone and value teamwork. They give credit where it’s due, even if it means they don’t advance as quickly or shine as much themselves.

8. They give up all the facts, even if it hurts.

Truth and transparency matters to trustworthy people. They won’t lie by omission or fudge data. They will give up even the information that could put their reputation at risk or create conflict, believing that those conflicts can be solved with good empathy and communication.

9. They confide in you.

Confiding in someone, exposing faults and all, involves a certain amount of vulnerability. So when someone confides in you, it demonstrates that the individual already trusts you and that they want you to be open with them, too.

10. They aren’t materialistic or desperate for money.

While there’s zero wrong with having nice things, trustworthy people don’t put stuff ahead of people. They’re willing to give up what they have (or could have) to help. Financial stability facilitates trust because it reduces the temptation to treat others poorly out of the need for self-preservation.

11. They’re right a lot.

Because trustworthy people value truth, they are willing to do their homework. They do the research that leads to verifiable conclusions, so they have a track record of having the right answer.

12. They skip the water cooler gossip.

Trustworthy individuals don’t like to make assumptions about anything or anybody. They prefer to get information from the source and to let the source speak for themselves. They avoid rumors because they know that rumors usually include negativity that tears people down instead of building them up. When they do talk, their language is empowering and respectful.

13. They’re learners.

Individuals who are worth your trust know they don’t have all the answers. They look for ways to learn and improve themselves constantly, and through that process, they’re willing to share the resources and facts they find.

14. You know who they’re connected to, and they try to connect you.

Both these elements show that the other person sees you as important. They want you to be part of their regular social group and meet the people you need to succeed. Others can affirm or contradict what you know about the individual, too. Subsequently, the more people the individual introduces you to, the more likely it is that they’re not hiding who they are.

15. They’re there for you and others.

Trustworthy people will listen to and support you even when they don’t need something from you. They do their best to be available to help, whatever you might be going through.

How to find a trusted adult to talk to

Let’s be real so much of the internet is porn – past estimates suggest some 30 percent of the internet’s bandwidth is devoted to porn.

Shocker, I know, people love porn. But with so much to chose from, where do you go for the very best porn? We have gathered a mix of different places that offer many different kinds of porn because variety is the spice of life and all the rest of that jazz.

Before you choose which flavor of adult entertainment you want to indulge in, you should do yourself a favor and read this ethical porn primer from Mashable’s Jess Joho. Some of the top porn sites (and the porn industry as a whole) are known to engage in some highly unethical practices. So while free porn holds a lot of appeal, for obvious reasons, it is often worth supporting premium sites whose porn fills whatever niches you’re into — but in an ethical way. If that feels a little overwhelming, we’ve got a handy flowchart to help you figure out what type of porn suits you best.

Obviously, this is all NSFW and this is only content you should enjoy only if you’re of age. Alright, well then, here we go. Here are 10 porn resources for all the horny folks out there.

1. Pornhub

Considering Pornhub is literally one of the most visited websites in the world, this is pretty obvious. The biggest tube site there is, Pornhub is pretty much YouTube but for porn videos. Whether it’s your favorite pornstar or amateur videos, hardcore or soft, chances are Pornhub has what you’re looking for — just endless amounts of sex videos.

2. Dipsea

Tired of watching videos and looking for something new? It might be a time to give audio erotica a try. Dipsea is a good place to hit up if you’re just dipping a toe into audio porn. It’s an app that features a diverse and carefully curated selection of erotic stories. While you can do a free trial, it is a subscription service, which means you’re actually supporting the people behind the stories.

3. xHamster

OK, xHamster is pretty similar to Pornhub if we’re being honest here. xHamster is, as the name suggests, another XXX site that’s chock full of free porn.

4. FrolicMe

As Mashable’s Anna Iovine has covered in great detail, the website FrolicMe is aimed at providing porn actually aimed at women. That means the women featured in the porn are enthusiastically enjoying the sex in various idyllic settings.

“I want real chemistry, I want real connection, I want real intimacy,” Anna Richards, founder of the erotic site, told Mashable. “I want to show real sex as opposed to a performance.”

Related Video: How to have virtual sex, according to a sex expert

5. Bellesa

Bellesa is a self-described feminist porn site. It offers free, long clips from the creators themselves. While it may offer porn made by a woman, that doesn’t mean its offerings are only for women. These are scenes meant to get all kinds of people off.

6. xTube

OK, last of the giant sites, but xTube is another big site full of free porn videos. It collects a whole mess of adult material, but the site focuses on amateur uploads from its community.

7. MVTube

It’s a free porn site, but unlike most of the other XXX sites, MVTube, which is run by the popular indie porn platform ManyVids, actually pays its creators when their work gets viewed.

8. Quinn

Another repository of erotic stories, Mashable’s Iovine wrote that Quinn is effectively “the YouTube of audio porn.” On Quinn, you’ll find user-uploaded amateur audio erotica of all different varieties.

9. OnlyFans

You might have noticed that OnlyFans was suddenly everywhere during after the coronavirus pandemic struck. Lots of famous, infamous, and everything-in-between people joined the cam site and gained lo. Basically, it’s a website where you can directly support performers creating adult material.

10. Literotica

If you love books and romance novels and also you’re kind of horny, then Literotica is the place for you. It’s written erotic materials that’ll help you get off.

How to find a trusted adult to talk to

STDs are diseases that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV. Many of these STDs do not show symptoms for a long time. Even without symptoms, they can still be harmful and passed on during sex.

How are STDs spread?

You can get an STD by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has an STD. Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD. You don’t even have to “go all the way” (have anal or vaginal sex) to get an STD. This is because some STDs, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact.

How to find a trusted adult to talk to

How common are STDs?

STDs are common, especially among young people. There were 26 million new sexually transmitted infections in 2018 in the United States. About half of these infections are in people between the ages of 15 and 24. Young people are at greater risk of getting an STD for several reasons:

  • Young women’s bodies are biologically more prone to STDs.
  • Some young people do not get the recommended STD tests.
  • Many young people are hesitant to talk openly and honestly with a doctor or nurse about their sex lives.
  • Not having insurance or transportation can make it more difficult for young people to access STD testing.
  • Some young people have more than one sex partner.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • The surest way to protect yourself against STDs is to not have sex. That means not having any vaginal, anal, or oral sex (“abstinence”). There are many things to consider before having sex external icon . It’s okay to say “no” if you don’t want to have sex.
  • If you do decide to have sex, you and your partner should get tested for STDs beforehand. Make sure that you and your partner use a condom from start to finish every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Know where to get condoms and how to use them correctly. It is not safe to stop using condoms unless you’ve both been tested for STDs, know your results, and are in a mutually monogamous relationship.
  • Mutual monogamy means that you and your partner both agree to only have sexual contact with each other. This can help protect against STDs, as long as you’ve both been tested and know you’re STD-free.
  • Before you have sex, talk with your partner about how you will prevent STDs and pregnancy. If you think you’re ready to have sex, you need to be ready to protect your body. You should also talk to your partner ahead of time about what you will and will not do sexually. Your partner should always respect your right to say no to anything that doesn’t feel right.
  • Make sure you get the health care you need. Ask a doctor or nurse about STD testing and about vaccines against HPV and hepatitis B.
  • Girls and young women may have extra needs to protect their reproductive health. Talk to your doctor or nurse about regular cervical cancer screening, and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. You may also want to discuss unintended pregnancy and birth control.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol and/or recreational drugs with sex. If you use alcohol and drugs, you are more likely to take risks, like not using a condom or having sex with someone you normally wouldn’t have sex with.

If I get an STD, how will I know?

Many STDs don’t cause any symptoms that you would notice. The only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested. You can get an STD from having sex with someone who has no symptoms. Just like you, that person might not even know he or she has an STD.

Where can I get tested?

There are places that offer teen-friendly, confidential, and free STD tests. This means that no one has to find out you’ve been tested. Visit GetTested to find an STD testing location near you.

Can STDs be treated?

Your doctor can prescribe medicine to cure some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other STDs, like herpes, can’t be cured, but you can take medicine to help with the symptoms.

If you are ever treated for an STD, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better before you finish it all. Ask the doctor or nurse about testing and treatment for your partner, too. You and your partner should avoid having sex until you’ve both been treated. Otherwise, you may continue to pass the STD back and forth. It is possible to get an STD again (after you’ve been treated), if you have sex with someone who has an STD.

What happens if I don’t treat an STD?

Some curable STDs can be dangerous if they aren’t treated. For example, if left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can make it difficult—or even impossible—for a woman to get pregnant. You also increase your chances of getting HIV if you have an untreated STD. Some STDs, like HIV, can be fatal if left untreated.

What if my partner or I have an incurable STD?

Some STDs, like herpes and HIV, aren’t curable, but a doctor can prescribe medicine to treat the symptoms.

If you are living with an STD, it’s important to tell your partner before you have sex. Although it may be uncomfortable to talk about your STD, open and honest conversation can help your partner make informed decisions to protect his or her health.

If I have questions, who can answer them?

If you have questions, talk to a parent or other trusted adult. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with them about your concerns. If you’re ever confused or need advice, they’re the first place to start. After all, they were young once, too.

Talking about sex with a parent or another adult doesn’t need to be a one-time conversation. It’s best to leave the door open for conversations in the future.

It’s also important to talk honestly with a doctor or nurse. Ask which STD tests and vaccines they recommend for you.

How to find a trusted adult to talk to

Where can I get more information?

STD information and referrals to STD Clinics
1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)
TTY: 1-888-232-6348
In English, en Español


STI Prevalence, Incidence, and Cost Estimates: 1 in 5 people in the United States had an STI on any given day in 2018. These updated estimates provide the clearest picture to date of how common and costly STIs are in the United States. (January 25, 2021) .

Adults you trust can help answer a lot of the questions you have about your body and sex. It can feel awkward at first, but it gets easier the more you do it.

Who can I ask if I have questions about my body?

It’s totally normal to have lots of questions about your body and what goes on during puberty. Talking with adults you trust is one of the best ways to get answers to all your questions and concerns. You can ask your parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts and uncles, older brothers and sisters, teachers, counselors — really any adult you trust who cares about you and your health.

Every grown-up you know has been a teenager. Chances are they’ve been through similar stuff as you, and they can give you good advice. And if they don’t know the answers to your questions, they can help you get information from a trustworthy source.

What if I feel uncomfortable talking to my parents?

It’s normal to feel weird or uncomfortable bringing up the changes in your body, dating, or sex with your parents or other adults, but they care about you and want to help. The grown-ups in your life will probably be glad that you came to them with questions, especially with stuff like bodies, health, and sex. And once you start talking, it gets easier every time.

Sometimes it’s helpful to have a plan ahead of time, so you can make sure to get all your questions answered. Here are some tips to start the conversation:

Give them a heads-up ahead of time that you want to talk. That way you don’t catch them off guard or when they’re too busy to focus. It also lets them know that it’s something important to you that they should listen to and take seriously.

It’s okay to tell them if you feel nervous. You can say something like, “This feels a little awkward for me, but I wanted to talk with you about…”

Think of questions you want to ask and write them down first. Be as clear as you can, and try to be open and honest about what you want to know.

If you feel more comfortable asking questions about your body or sexual health over email or text, go for it! For some people it’s easier to write their questions than to say them. The most important thing is that you talk with an adult you trust, no matter how you need to do it.

If you really can’t talk to your parents or guardian about what’s going on with your body, find an adult you trust — like an older sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle, grandparent, teacher, counselor, or doctor — to answer your questions. You can also talk with someone at your local Planned Parenthood health center about sexual health and your body. Many Planned Parenthood health centers have special programs or events for teens that can help you get the info you need. Call your local Planned Parenthood health center to find out more.

How do I know when I should talk to a doctor?

Sometimes it can be hard to know if something that’s going on with your body is normal or not. So how do you know when it’s really important to talk with your doctor about it? A great first step is to talk to a parent or other trusted adult. They’ve been through a lot of the same stuff you’re going through now, so they’ll probably be able to tell you what’s normal and what you should ask a doctor about. If you need to see a doctor, you can ask an adult you trust to help you make an appointment.

You can also call your doctor if you just want to talk to someone in private about things you might not want to ask other people in your life. Doctors are experts on bodies, and their job is to answer your questions about your body and staying healthy. If you don’t have a doctor already, you can contact your local Planned Parenthood Health Center. They can answer your questions and help you get the care you need.

When you’re at the doctor, remember there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Doctors and nurses are always happy to answer any questions you have about your body and health — that’s their job! And you can be totally honest with them because doctors are there to help you, not judge you. And in general, doctors have to keep what you tell them private. If you’re worried about privacy, you can always ask them what they will and won’t keep private, so you know in advance. It’s especially important to ask questions when you have pain or discomfort that lasts for a long time, or if anything just feels wrong.

NIDA. “Real Teens Ask: How Can I Help My Friend?.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 20 Jul. 2010,

NIDA. Real Teens Ask: How Can I Help My Friend?. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. July 20, 2010.

How to find a trusted adult to talk to

Lots of teens have questions about drugs. Each year, NIDA scientists spend a whole day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At the last “Drug Facts Chat Day,” a teen from Lima Central Catholic High School in Lima, Ohio asked:

“What should I do if one of my friends is using drugs. What should I tell him to convince him to stop?”

There are many ways to help and support your friend, but in the end, it will need to be your friend’s decision. And just by asking us this question, it’s easy to see you’re a good friend. Sometimes our friends won’t appreciate advice they don’t want to hear—especially if they’re using drugs—but telling the truth to help someone close to you is part of being a real friend, even when it’s hard to do.

Here are some ideas of things to say and do:

What To Do:

  • Find out if your friend is experimenting with drugs, or if he may be addicted. Neither one is good—but you may need more support if your friend is addicted.
  • Understand that addiction is a brain disease. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone with cancer to be able to heal herself without a doctor’s help, the right treatment, and support from family and friends, you can’t expect your friend to heal herself.
  • Know that it’s never easy for anyone to admit that they have a drug problem. You’ll need to be patient—and not give up easily.
  • Listen, encourage, share, and support. Sounds easy, right? But it’s so hard. We provide further tips and resources in a previous post we wrote titled “How to Help a Friend in Need.”
  • BTW, it’s tough having a friend with addiction issues. So, if you need some support, visit:

What To Say:

  • Just telling your friend that you’re concerned can be a big help. Your friend may not want to talk about it, and the effects of drugs on the brain may keep him from “hearing” you or acting on your advice.
  • Assure your friend you are there for her and that she is not alone. People with drug problems often have gotten in with the wrong crowd—and they don’t want to turn away from these so-called friends for fear of being alone.
  • Suggest that he speak to a trusted adult who will keep it confidential. Maybe there’s a family friend who could help.
  • Turn to a professional for immediate help if the problem looks to be too big for you to handle alone, or if you’re worried your friend may have suicidal thoughts that she could act on.
  • Use SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator or call 1–800–662–HELP to tap into a support network where you can find immediate and confidential help 24/7. They’can also direct you to local treatment options.

When the people we care about and have lots in common with make bad choices, it can be frustrating, confusing, and a little depressing. Still, we should be there for our friends—and also try to be a good role models for them by making smart choices ourselves.

It’s especially important to teach kids who learn and think differently about personal safety.

They may need specific lessons and language to deal with potentially unsafe situations.

Open communication with your child and role-playing is key.

When it comes to personal safety, kids who learn and think differently may be more vulnerable than other kids . So how can you teach your child about “safe” and “unsafe” people? Start with these tips.

Say it early, often, and very clearly.

Tell your child: “Never go with anyone unless you come and ask me.” Or, “I will tell you ahead of time if you’re going with anyone other than me.”

Talk about uncomfortable feelings.

You can keep it low-key, but it’s still important to talk about situations you know would make your child uncomfortable. Ask kids about any times they’ve felt strange, “off,” or uncomfortable, and to describe how that felt.

Thinking through these uncomfortable situations now can help keep your child safe later. If your child seems fearful or starts to get anxious while you’re talking, back off a bit. This is a lot for kids to take in or express. Break down your child’s present feelings and talk about them. Then, later on, you can go back and talk through the uncomfortable scenario more.

Talk about “tricky people.”

The idea of strangers can be confusing for some kids. And some unsafe people are, unfortunately, people your kids actually know—people they may see on a regular basis.

One way to explain who to watch out for is by talking about “tricky people.” When your child is young, say, “Most people are pretty good. But some people have problems and they’re not so good. It’s my job to protect you from them.”

As kids get older, though, start to mention that they are in charge of their safety, too. And if they ever feel like someone, whether they know the person or not, is tricky, they can come to you to talk about it.

Be specific.

Explain to your child some of the uncomfortable things unsafe people may do. For instance, they may pay a lot of attention to kids and even give them presents. They may be physical with kids even when kids ask them to stop.

Unsafe people may also use inappropriate words to comment on how kids look. And unsafe strangers may ask a child for directions or to help them look for something, like a lost dog.


Make sure your child knows it’s OK to say no to people. It doesn’t matter if your child knows the person or not.

First, talk through what your child can do in situations that involve strangers. For example, what if the manager at the skating rink asks your child to carry something out to his car?

Then, act out and role-play the situations that involve people your child may know, too. In other words, what if an unfamiliar neighbor invites your child in for a snack? Or if a relative keeps asking your child for “hugs and kisses”?

Make kids the “boss” of their body.

It’s crucial to tell kids that no one is allowed to touch their body in a way that makes them uncomfortable. That especially goes for bathing suit areas. If your child has to have physical exams with a doctor, attend the appointment and ask the doctor to explain what they’re doing, to give more meaning to the exam.

Many pediatricians and doctors will make a note to mention how kids are the “boss” of their bodies at each annual physical exam. Even if they don’t, you can ask them to—and you can instill the message at home.

Give simple steps for scary situations.

Have a list of steps your child can take the moment an uncomfortable situation happens. If your child is feeling weird at all, the following steps are appropriate:

Step 1: Loudly say, “NO!” (For kids who may have been constantly told to use their “inside voice,” this can feel unnatural.)

Step 2: Run away. (Kids may not be used to being allowed to run from adults. Emphasize how important this is.)

Step 3: Find a trusted adult. (If your child is out in public and can’t find you, tell your child to look for a mom who has kids with her.)

Talk about online stranger safety.

Personal safety extends to your child’s digital life, too, starting at ever-younger ages. It’s important to teach kids what’s appropriate and inappropriate online, where it can sometimes feel like anything is allowed.

Create and instill boundaries where technology is concerned. And learn more about how to protect your child against online predators .

Keep the safety conversation going.

Personal safety isn’t something to just bring up once with your child. It needs to be part of regular, calm discussions. Start when your child is very young, and get more detailed in discussions as your child gets older.

Key Takeaways

Talk about personal safety early, often, and clearly.

Keep an open dialogue running with your child about “safe” and “unsafe” people and situations.

Role-play scenarios with your child, like unwanted attention from a stranger.


About the Author

About the Author

Lexi Walters Wright is the former Community Manager at Understood. As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Mark J. Griffin, PhD was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.

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Finding a balance between your parents/carers’ expectations of you and your own desires can feel like a constant battle. If they want you to take one path and you’re set on another, you might be feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Read on for some practical tips on how to deal with high expectations from parents and carers.

Remember: you’re good enough

First up, it’s important to remember that you’re all good, just as you are. What you choose to do with your life is important, but it doesn’t define your value as a person. It can help to work out what your strengths are. Take this free test to find your top five character strengths.

If you’re struggling with feeling good about yourself, it also helps to practise positive self-talk. Find out how to do this here.

Try to understand where your parents/carers are coming from

It’s not a big deal that you and your parents have different ideas and expectations. What matters is how you solve with the situation. Their expectations are usually coming from the right place, they just want you to succeed or be happy. It might just be that their idea of what that looks like is very different from yours. Or, it might be related to their expectations of themselves.

If you think the bar they are setting is way too high, try talking to them about how it makes you feel. It can help to acknowledge this (even just to yourself).

Work on your communication skills

Having real talk with your parents/carers about what you want for your life can really work wonders. Kick start this by saying something like, ‘I understand why you want me to be a doctor, but I don’t think this matches my strengths or interests.’

Some other tips for having this conversation include:

  • Pick your moment, find a time when your parents/carers are free and chilled. Midweek can be a chaotic time, between work and school, everyone is a little fried. Tee up a quiet half hour on the weekend and tell your parents you’d like to have a talk.
  • Explain that you’re worried you can’t meet their expectations.
  • Tell them what you see for your future, even if the answer is “I don’t know.” Proving that you’re thinking about what’s next – even if you’re not sure – might make them feel more secure.
  • Listen to what they have to say.
  • If you feel you’re not getting anywhere, agree to disagree.

Check your own expectations

Make sure your own expectations of yourself aren’t too high. Having goals is great, but if you put heaps of pressure on yourself you’ll probably feel stressed. Check in with how you’re feeling and whether you’re being too hard on yourself. See how to set goals here and check in with how you’re going here.

What to do if it’s really getting to you

Even if you follow all the tips above, your parents/carers might still be disappointed with the choices you make. If so, remember that there are probably other areas of your life that they’re stoked about.

Balancing your parents/carers’ expectations with your own can be tricky. If you’re really struggling, talk to another trusted adult or friend and get their take on it.

Anyone can experience mental health problems. Friends and family can make all the difference in a person’s recovery process.

Supporting a Friend or Family Member with Mental Health Problems

You can help your friend or family member by recognizing the signs of mental health problems and connecting them to professional help.

Talking to friends and family about mental health problems can be an opportunity to provide information, support, and guidance. Learning about mental health issues can lead to:

  • Improved recognition of early signs of mental health problems
  • Earlier treatment
  • Greater understanding and compassion

If a friend or family member is showing signs of a mental health problem or reaching out to you for help, offer support by:

  • Finding out if the person is getting the care that he or she needs and wants—if not, connect him or her to help
  • Expressing your concern and support
  • Reminding your friend or family member that help is available and that mental health problems can be treated
  • Asking questions, listening to ideas, and being responsive when the topic of mental health problems come up
  • Reassuring your friend or family member that you care about him or her
  • Offering to help your friend or family member with everyday tasks
  • Including your friend or family member in your plans—continue to invite him or her without being overbearing, even if your friend or family member resists your invitations
  • Educating other people so they understand the facts about mental health problems and do not discriminate
  • Treating people with mental health problems with respect, compassion, and empathy

How to Talk About Mental Health

Do you need help starting a conversation about mental health? Try leading with these questions and make sure to actively listen to your friend or family member’s response.

  • I’ve been worried about you. Can we talk about what you are experiencing? If not, who are you comfortable talking to?
  • What can I do to help you to talk about issues with your parents or someone else who is responsible and cares about you?
  • What else can I help you with?
  • I am someone who cares and wants to listen. What do you want me to know about how you are feeling?
  • Who or what has helped you deal with similar issues in the past?
  • Sometimes talking to someone who has dealt with a similar experience helps. Do you know of others who have experienced these types of problems who you can talk with?
  • It seems like you are going through a difficult time. How can I help you to find help?
  • How can I help you find more information about mental health problems?
  • I’m concerned about your safety. Have you thought about harming yourself or others?

When talking about mental health problems:

  • Know how to connect people to help
  • Communicate in a straightforward manner
  • Speak at a level appropriate to a person’s age and development level (preschool children need fewer details as compared to teenagers)
  • Discuss the topic when and where the person feels safe and comfortable
  • Watch for reactions during the discussion and slow down or back up if the person becomes confused or looks upset

Sometimes it is helpful to make a comparison to a physical illness. For example, many people get sick with a cold or the flu, but only a few get really sick with something serious like pneumonia. People who have a cold are usually able to do their normal activities. However, if they get pneumonia, they will have to take medicine and may have to go to the hospital.

Similarly, feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, irritability, or sleep problems are common for most people. However, when these feelings get very intense, last for a long period of time, and begin to interfere with school, work, and relationships, it may be a sign of a mental health problem. And just like people need to take medicine and get professional help for physical conditions, someone with a mental health problem may need to take medicine and/or participate in therapy in order to get better.

Get Help for Your Friend or Family Member

Seek immediate assistance if you think your friend or family member is in danger of harming themselves. You can call a crisis line or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you think your friend or family member is in need of community mental health services you can find help in your area.