How to Be a Mental Health Ally: Tips and Resources for Supporting Loved Ones

Deborah C. Escalante

How to Be a Mental Health Ally: Tips and Resources for Supporting Loved Ones
How to Be a Mental Health Ally: Tips and Resources for Supporting Loved Ones

Mental health is a vital aspect of our overall well-being. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental illness can make it difficult for people to seek help and support. As a mental health ally, you can be a source of comfort, guidance, and support for loved ones who may be struggling with mental health issues. In this article, we will provide you with tips and resources to help you be an effective ally.

What Does It Mean to Be a Mental Health Ally?

Being a mental health ally means being a supportive friend, family member, or colleague to someone who is living with a mental illness or experiencing mental health challenges. As an ally, you play an essential role in helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness while also providing a safe, non-judgmental space for your loved one to turn to when they need support.

Tips for Being a Mental Health Ally

  1. Listen actively: One of the most important things you can do as a mental health ally is to listen actively to your loved one. This means paying close attention to their words, body language, and tone of voice. Avoid interrupting, judging, or minimizing their experiences, and instead, take the time to understand their perspective fully.

  2. Educate yourself: Mental health is a complex issue, and it can be challenging to know how to provide effective support. One way to become a better ally is to educate yourself by learning more about the types of mental illnesses your loved one may be living with, the different treatment options available, and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis.

  3. Encourage self-care: Encouraging your loved one to take care of themselves is a vital part of being an ally. This may involve helping them establish healthy habits, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. You can also suggest mindfulness practices, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, which can help promote relaxation and reduce stress.

  4. Be patient and persistent: Recovery from mental illness is a journey, and it can take time. As a mental health ally, it’s essential to be patient and persistent with your loved one, even when things get difficult. Avoid pressuring them to "just get over it," and instead, offer your support and encouragement throughout the recovery process.

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Resources for Being a Mental Health Ally

If you’re looking for additional resources to help you be a mental health ally, there are several organizations and websites that offer support and information. Some of these include:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI is a national organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by mental illness.

  • Mental Health America: Mental Health America is a non-profit organization that provides information and resources to help individuals with mental health challenges live better lives.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): SAMHSA is a government agency that provides mental health and substance abuse resources and information.


Being a mental health ally requires patience, compassion, and a willingness to learn. By following the tips and resources outlined in this article, you can become a valuable source of support and encouragement for loved ones who may be struggling with mental health issues. Remember, taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health, and we all deserve to have someone in our corner who cares and supports us through it all.

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