Our NHS People

Things to say and do

Many of us avoid checking in with ourselves or asking other people how they are, for fear of the response. But the rewards and benefits are almost always far bigger than any initial anxieties.

Here are some common concerns about reaching out to someone who may need support:

  • Not knowing what to say
  • Saying the wrong thing
  • Getting upset by yourself
  • Making things worse

It’s okay if you’re not an expert – just listening can help someone work through what’s on their mind. When people feel listened to, it can save a life.

To get started:

  • Find a good time and place
  • Choose somewhere quiet, where you won’t be interrupted and the other person feels comfortable. Make sure you both have enough time to talk.
  • Use open questions to start the conversation (some tips are in the next topic)
  • If you say the wrong thing, don’t panic
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you feel able to, you could try something like “Last week I said … and I realise that was insensitive, so I’m sorry. I’m still here for you.”

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