Accompanying someone to mental health support services
It takes courage to take that first step towards accessing support. Often, people feel afraid or embarrassed.
Sometimes, it helps if you offer to go with the person to the support service. You could suggest making a phone call on their behalf. At other times, people may need practical help in getting to appointments, for example, a lift.
If you go with someone to a support service appointment
Be clear about your concerns
Tell the health professional you meet about your concerns. Tell them what you have noticed. Be sure to let them know if the person has revealed suicidal thoughts to you. Make them aware if the person has self-harmed. 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.
Talk to the health professional
The health professional may not allow you to go with the individual to the consultation. You should ask can you speak with them afterwards. Use this time to give them as much information as you have.
Ask about support
Ask for clear information on support options. If the person you're concerned about has suicidal thoughts you should ask for information on managing the risk of suicide. Ask for any supports that are available.
Ask for advice on how to keep the person safe, especially over the short-term. For example, if you need to remove medications from the house, find out where you can take them.
Help is important
Take all the help you are offered. Sometimes you may have to look for it. Just because help is not handed to you it does not mean it isn't needed. Keep asking questions and asking for support.