World Mental Health Day: How to help someone who is struggling with mental health problems

Ask a question, then ask it again, is the advice the head of a mental…

World Mental Health Day: How to help someone who is struggling with mental health problems

Ask a question, then ask it again, is the advice the head of a mental health charity gives for helping to tackle suicide.

“Persist, we talk about asking questions and asking them twice,” Simon Gunning, CEO of Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), told ITV News.

The charity is leading a movement against suicide and communication is “so vitally important” in this, Simon says.

Not everyone has someone to speak to, or perhaps there is stigma or shame that prevents people from talking, but helplines can bridge that gap.

Simon said: “You can rid yourself of any embarrassment, any shame, the CALM helpline and all others, are completely, non-judgemental, and talking really, really helps.”

He says never tell someone who is suffering with mental health problems to “pull yourself together”.

“We would never talk about a physical condition with that sort of response and we shouldn’t do that with an emotion or mental health condition.”

He adds that talking to doctors is important, especially for men who are less likely to seek medical healthcare for mental health issues.

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]

  • Mind also offer mental health support between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463. There is also lots of information available on their website.

  • Campaign Against Living Miserably’s (CALM) helpline and webchat are open from 5pm until midnight, 365 days a year. Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or chat to their trained helpline staff onlineNo matter who you are or what you’re going through, it’s free, anonymous and confidential.


Dan McGurk spoke to ITV News about losing his brother to suicide.

“He was a typical quiet man, so he didn’t talk about things, everything was quite quiet, he didn’t like talking about his feelings,” Dan said.

“I never thought he would take his life.”

Dan thinks pride got in the way of his brother talking about his feelings.

“Pride is a massive thing for men, that we struggle with, we’ve been the major breadwinners, to go to work and we have to look after our families, or be tough and strong and not allowed to cry,” he said.

“They need to know that it’s alright to talk about it, that will help, that will make you feel a lot better.

“Most things can be sorted whether that’s money, gambling or relationships, or jobs.

“I’ve always found it quite easy to talk and that’s probably what’s kept me alive really.

“It’s psychology. You know the answers, but until you speak to a professional or somebody, and you get their feedback, then it sinks in.”


ITV and STV’s Britain Get Talking has collaborated with mental health charities to launch its ‘Help Our Helplines’ campaign in the run up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday.

The campaign will raise funds to support helplines to tackle Britain’s mental health emergency.