An important part of being there for someone is helping them access professional and community resources and services.

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You can’t (and shouldn’t) force them to go, but you can help them know where to go and what to expect.
As a friend, your role is to support them in finding resources and getting help. You can prepare for conversations and do research on your own, but the process of getting help is best done together. Ask how you can support them in getting help. E.g. Would you feel more comfortable if I was there when you call to make an appointment? Want me to come to the Guidance Office with you?

Where to go


Figuring out where to find help can be hard. Check out Kids Help Phone Resources Around Me and if there aren't appropriate services in your area (or if wait times are too long) then look to online resources or helplines. If possible, get on a waitlist for professional services but you can also reach out to a caring person in your community that you trust. Sometimes it’s just trial and error of different resources like online chats, group counselling or helplines before finding a good fit. The important thing is to not give up.

While resources in your area might not be as plentiful and accessible as they should be, it’s important for people to look into all options and try different approaches to find what will best suit their needs. Learn about the differences between various services.

When to get help

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The earlier the better. If you see someone is struggling to cope, you should suggest they reach out to community supports or professional help. Let them know that there are people they can talk to who can help (like a school counsellor, family doctor, or helpline), and that they don’t have to go through this alone.

By encouraging and supporting someone to get the help they need, we normalize help seeking behaviour. It’s like when that first brave student has the courage to stick their hand up in an auditorium of 1,200 first years and ask a question. From then on it’s just a little bit easier for everyone else to ask their questions. It’s like a destigmatizing snowball effect.

You can say, "It sounds like you’ve really been struggling; have you considered talking to our school counsellor?"
Offer to go with them to a counsellor or sit with them while they call a helpline.
Find ways to help remove barriers to accessing services like distance, time and cost.

Nick & Catelyn's Story

I was proud he got help and it gave me strength to find help too

Nick & Catelyn

Keep following up


If they refuse help, but are not in crisis, follow up periodically and encourage them to get help. Pushing too hard will only push them further away.

If they're in crisis, call 9-1-1 or emergency services.

Maryam & Aswani's Story

I’ll support whatever option you choose

Maryam & Aswani

What to Expect from Therapy

Questions from the community

What if someone is reluctant to seek help because they found professional help unhelpful or hurtful in the past? I think they're in serious trouble but they refuse to get professional help, what do I do? What if they tell me they've self-harmed, but claim to be feeling better and do not appear to be in crisis? What if they receive a diagnosis (e.g. BPD, depression, OCD, etc.)? What does that mean for them long term and how do I support them? What if attitudes of their family or community are stigmatizing and negatively impacting their mental health? How do I encourage someone to broaden their support network without making them think I don’t care about them? What if I think they're hurting themselves or contemplating suicide?

How to take care of yourself

Being there can be tough. Learn to recognize your limits and Be There for Yourself too.

Be There