A close-up of a teenage boy gazing downwards.

If you’re the type of person who has never experienced mental health difficulties before or just pride yourself on being an upbeat, positive person, it can be very hard to ask for help.

You might wait weeks or even months to confide in someone but, like any problem, the sooner you reach out for assistance, the better the chance is of getting control of the issue and returning to your everyday life.

However, it’s never too late to ask for help.

If you’re not sure how to ask for the support you need, you can try one of the following:

Speak to someone you trust

It takes a lot of courage to open up about your feelings to someone directly. But, if you trust someone enough and believe they can help, you will feel the benefits almost immediately.

If you’re too nervous to talk to them face-to-face, arrange a quiet time when you’re both free to talk over the phone.

Write a letter or email

It can be hard to verbalise our innermost thoughts so it makes sense to take the time to really think about it and get it all out on “paper” so that the person reading it will get a clear idea of what you’ve been going through.

Talk to Childline

Not everyone has someone in their life that they can share their worries with and that’s where Childline comes in. We’re available 24/7, 365 days a year, to listen to whatever is on your mind – no matter how small or big the problem is.

You can talk to us on the phone (1800 66 66 66) or via live chat on childline.ie.

What should I say?

When asking for help, try to be as honest as you can. As much as it might scare you to be vulnerable, the more specific you are, the easier it will be for the person to help you. Here are a few opening lines that will get the conversation going:

  • ‘Things have been quite difficult at home recently – can we meet up a little more than we normally do?’
  • ‘I’m not feeling myself at the moment but I’m not ready to talk about it. Can you help distract me?’
  • ‘I’m struggling at the moment but I’m finding it hard to pinpoint what’s actually wrong.’
  • ‘I don’t want to be on my own, I’m worried about my mood. Can you come over to my house/stay talking for a while?’
  • ‘I’ve been really sad and anxious over the last while and nothing I’m doing seems to help. I’d really appreciate any advice you might have.’

Reaching out is the hard part. Once you’ve done that, you can focus your attention on feeling better and getting back to doing the things you love.  

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