Whenever we come across someone dealing with mental health issues, we often find ourselves in a deadlock. The sufferer finds it hard to open up to another person and the listener simply cannot figure out what the right thing to say is.

For any conversation, it is important that both the people are as pragmatic and understanding as possible. It is a job which will take two way communication. Here are some of the key phrases that a sufferer could use and ones that he/she can avoid. This will be followed by a short list of words and phrases a listener is advised/not advised to use.

For The Sufferer.

Reaching out for help is always a tough job for anyone suffering from mental health issues like depression or anxiety. We know that 10% of a population is likely to be depressed and I have talked in the past about how the rest of the 90% can help us. Today I wished to write and help suggest some ways in which people can reach out for help for their emotional problems.


The thing about reaching out is that you will have to go in hoping for the best and expecting the worst. In order to make it more likely that you get the help you need, you will have to be courteous and polite while asking someone for help. I know it is easier said than done and I know it is likely that every single instinct in your body would be telling you to push this person away but you will have to fight that and reach out.



A depressed mind is often filled with rage that harbours within against a particular person, a group or society in general. It is hence important that when you do find someone willing to listen, you don’t end up channeling all the anger within yourself on the listener. It is a very common mistake and one that I made as well back when I was struggling to find someone who could help.

For The Listener.


It is very very important that you choose your owrds carefully since a depressed mind is likely to be a highly analytical one which would take every single word of yours through the fine tooth comb. Don’t use “JUST”, the moment you say this word, you might lose all the attention of the person since it is a comparative word and that too, one which puts down the problems. “What About” is another one of those phrases which just take the person’s mind away from you and close you off.

Instead of these words, try to use more words like, I am here, “we”, let the person know that you will be there for them. Let them know that you are in this together and use we as often as possible.


I cant guarantee that using these phrases will work 100% of the time but it will make you appear more open and approachable which is an important requirement on the path to recovery from mental illnesses

All the best.