In Aspen Strong

How to Say the Right Thing to Someone Struggling

Talking about behavioral health conditions can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be if you know the
right words to say. Oftentimes, people with the best intentions end up using language that isn’t helpful.
That’s why it’s important to be mindful of the words you use to show your support. You can use
the ACT acronym as an easy way to remember how to help – Acknowledge what they’re feeling, show
you Care, and help connect them with Treatment.

Here are some tips on how you can ACT:

1. “Tell me more about it.” – Instead of saying phrases like “get over it” or “you’ll feel better
soon,” remember the power of being a good listener.
2. “I’m here for you.” – Show your support by letting your friend or loved one know you care. You
may not understand how they are feeling, but you can express your willingness to be there
whenever needed.
3. “It’s OK to feel this way.” – People who are struggling with their behavioral health often feel
alone and hopeless. Remind your friend or loved one that you are sorry that they’re feeling this
way. Fight the urge to come up with simple solutions. Depression is not a simple problem you
can easily solve.
4. “What can I do to help you?” – People with depression often feel tired and overwhelmed. Let
them know you’re available. Taking on small tasks can make a big difference for someone who is
5. “This isn’t your fault.” – Depression is a mental health condition that cannot be fixed with just a
bit of positive thinking. Avoid saying, “This will pass.” Phrases like this minimize your friend’s or
loved one’s feelings.

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