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Finding the words

Looking for some ideas for what to say? Use these tips to help you start the conversation.

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“Tough times in the news today. How are you holding up?”

"How is therapy going?"

If you know someone is in therapy, it’s OK to ask them about it.

“How have you been feeling, lately, really?”

“It might just be me, but you haven’t  seemed like yourself lately. Is everything OK?”

Keep the conversation going.

Encourage them to continue what they want to talk about by using reassuring phrases, such as “please continue, I’m listening” and “tell me more about that.”

Do my conversations always include giving advice?

Learn how to listen without offering fixes.

Validate their feelings and concerns.

Offer validation by saying things like, “I can understand why you feel that way,” or “that must be really hard.”

“What can I do to help you feel better?”

Know when to pause the conversation.

Sometimes conversations can feel heavier than anticipated. If you’re not comfortable, ask to pause the conversation. You can maintain boundaries that feel healthy for you too – let them know when you will be able to engage again or help them find another person to talk to.

Check your body language.

Keep a comfortable distance. Consider sitting next to them rather than in front. Be mindful of your hands, and try to keep them where they can see them.

Use feeling words. Try asking about:




Do NOT tell someone to “get over it” or “snap out of it.” Instead, ask what you can do to help them feel better.

Do NOT say “you’re probably just tired.” Instead, use feeling words to ask about their stress, worry, or sadness.

"Are you dealing with a stressful time right now?"

“Hey, you haven’t been responding to my  texts lately. Are you OK?”

“Is anything bringing you joy this week?”

Choose your response to common scenarios and practice talking about mental health.

Try it out
Illustration of woman waving to her friend whose face is downcast