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Accompanying someone to support services

It takes courage to take that first step towards getting support. People can feel afraid or embarrassed.

There are things you can do to help when someone is getting support.

Try to make specific offers of help, such as:

  • going with them to the support service
  • making phone calls on their behalf
  • driving them to their appointment

Going with someone to a support service appointment

Make sure the person in need of help knows you are going with them to the appointment and that you have their permission to speak to the health professional.

Speak with the person before the appointment about what they want to get from the meeting. You can help them write down their main concerns and any questions they have for the health professional.

Talk to the health professional

The health professional may not let you to go with the individual to the appointment. Ask if you can speak with them afterwards. Use this time to give them as much information as you have.

The person may not be as clear with a health professional as they were with you. They may suggest that they are feeling much better now.

Be clear about your concerns

Tell the health professional about your concerns. Tell them what you have noticed.

Always tell them if the person has:

  • talked about suicidal thoughts
  • self-harmed

In some cases, it is helpful if the person in need of support is aware of what you will say to the health professional.

Ask about support

Ask if there are any leaflets outlining support options.

Staying safe

If you are concerned for someone's safety, make sure you let the health professional know this information. This will help them make clear decisions on how to support their safety.

Ask for advice on how to keep the person safe, especially over the short term. For example, if you need to remove medicines from the house, find out where you can take them.

If the person you're concerned about has suicidal thoughts, ask for information on managing the risk of suicide. Ask for any supports that are available.

Help is important

Take all the help you are offered after going to a support service.

You may need to:

  • keep asking the health professional questions
  • try other support options

Organisations that provide mental health services

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025