Asking for help
We all need a bit of help sometimes. But it can be difficult to know how, or who, to ask. We look at some ways you can ask for the help you need.
Why do you need help?
Sometimes things can seem overwhelming, and you may feel you can’t cope. You may simply just be having a bad day, or you may have an ongoing mental health problem that needs support. The important thing is not to try to cope on your own.
It’s not good to spend too much time alone, especially if you are feeling low and vulnerable. It’s at times like these that you need to be able to talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What's stopping you asking for help?
You might not like asking for help. You may feel that you don’t want to burden other people. You worry about what they might think or that they could tell others.
You may even be afraid that they’ll laugh at you.
But the truth is, people who care about you will want to help you.
You just have to ask.
Who can you ask for help?
- your family – parents or carers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins
- trusted friends – your own friends, or friends of the family, neighbours
- people you work with
- professionals – your GP, a doctor or nurse, a social worker
- a community support group
What our Activists and bloggers say
Our Activists and bloggers share their thoughts about asking for help:
"I know from my own experiences how difficult it can be to talk about what you’re going through, especially if you’re not exactly sure what’s going on yourself. It can be overwhelming trying to figure it out but if you’re feeling this way, I’d encourage you to ask for help. Know that you’re not alone in this and people around you want to help you."
- Bella Ramsey, actor and YoungMinds ambassador
"Talking to my mum about my mental health for the first time was probably the scariest - and simultaneously the best - thing I have ever done."
"In my opinion, it's very important to find somebody you trust to talk to about what you're going through. I shut myself away instead of asking for help and it made things even harder for me. It might feel impossible but opening up for the first time is the hardest part- it becomes easier after that."
"Simply talking about my problems out loud to people that supported me was freeing. I felt that I was making progress."
"For months I had been barely floating above the surface; voicing my struggles allowed me to start working my way back to shore."
For more advice on asking for help, as well as real stories from young people, visit our blogs:
How to ask for help
Decide who is the best person to talk to. Who would you feel most comfortable talking to? Many of us prefer talking to family or friends, but you may prefer to talk to professionals, support groups, helplines or online discussion forums.
Pick your time and place. Choose a good time and somewhere you feel comfortable, so you can talk uninterrupted in a relaxed environment.
What outcome do you want? Do you simply want to be listened to? Would you like more practical or emotional support? It's okay if you don't know, but it can help to think about what you would like to achieve.
Make notes. Write down the things you want to say so you remember to include them in your conversation.
Explain how you feel and what support you would like. The other person will then know how to help you.
It may be difficult to talk about your feelings. But “a problem shared is a problem halved” and you’ll probably feel better simply talking to someone. When you’re feeling down, it’s important that you are not struggling on your own. Just ask for some help.
Helplines and services available
- provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis - just text YM to 85258
- all texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
- texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus
- if you're under 19 you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem big or small
- freephone 24/7 helpline: 0800 1111
- sign up for a childline account on the website to be able to message a counsellor anytime without using your email address
- chat 1:1 with an online advisor
- if you're under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service, or get more information on support services you might need.
- freephone: 0808 808 4994 (1pm - 11pm daily)