It’s upsetting to see someone you love suffer. You can often feel frustrated and helpless, like there’s no way of getting through to them.

But right now is the time your love and support is as vital as ever, even if it doesn’t seem to matter to the person you care about. Here are some ways to offer support to a loved one who is struggling.


Listening can be a powerful support tool. Let the person know you’re always there if they need to talk. If your loved one opens up to you about what he or she is going through, give them your full attention. Try to listen openly and positively, without judgment. You may not have the answers, but it can often provide enormous support to someone just to feel like they’re being heard. Ask your loved one what you can do to help them during the difficult times and let them know they are not alone.


Whether the person you care about is living with drug dependence, showing signs of depression or any other challenging situation, find out as much as you can on the topic to help you better understand what they’re dealing with. There is a wealth of information available to you online, or you can call us directly on the 24 hour free YoDAA Line: 1800 458 685.

Find out as much as you can on the topic to help you better understand what they’re dealing with

If the person isn’t showing any signs of improvement, it could be time to suggest professional help. Recommending they see their local doctor is a good first step, and a relatively non-invasive one. It can be a sensitive topic to bring up, so it’s important to approach with caution. It’s often best to wait until you’re both calm before making the suggestion, as opposed to raising it during a fight when emotions are high. Offering to come along with them to their first appointment can make the experience feel less overwhelming.


When it comes to caring for a loved one going through tough times, knowing when to take a step back is also really important. If the person doesn’t want to see a counsellor, don’t push the issue, because it may put them off seeking help altogether. Try to remain patient and offer a consistent level of support when needed.

If you’re worried the person you’re caring for is at risk of harming themselves call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For anything else posing an immediate danger call 000 for assistance.