Some kind of mental health problem will affect 1 in 4 people in a year (source: Mind). So your situation is not unusual if you are worried about a friend, colleague or family member. It can be difficult to know what to do. But, making a difference to someone who is struggling is easier than you might think and small acts of compassion can make a huge difference. Here is some advice.
You cannot 'refer' someone else to a therapist. They must be the ones to take the decision to embark on treatment. So, if you feel that the situation demands action the only thing you can do is talk to them and listen to them. It is not an easy step to take. However you may find that they actually want to talk, but have been struggling to find a way to start the conversation.
Don't try and diagnose their problem yourself, but if it makes you feel more confident to approach them you can find out a bit more on our website. Have a look at the types of problems therapy can help manage and get some tips on finding the right therapist. We've also provided some information about what to expect at your first therapy sessions which you might find useful.
Choose a time that is calm and conflict free to talk to them. And when you do, remember that this is about them, not you. Don't try to tell them what to do or give them advice, just ask open-ended questions and listen to their answers. Gently encourage them to seek help and have some suggestions of resources and information on hand to give them. Above all make it clear that you are there for them. Even if they are resistant to you in the first instance, just knowing you are there may help them to open up to you eventually.
If you are struggling with talking to someone else or are extremely worried that they are a danger to themselves or others, the charity Mind offer a useful guide to the best course of action. Use the 'I need urgent help' button on their homepage.