• Let your loved one know you need to have an important conversation.
  • Pick a good time and place. For instance, avoid talking during family gatherings or when you’re fighting.
  • If you are not a clinician, understand that you might not fully understand clinical diagnoses and therefore should not label an individual’s condition. Be prepared to speak generally about their condition, such as mentioning what behavior changes you have seen.
  • Be calm and unemotional.
  • Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. Such as, “I feel you have been canceling our dinners, because you are withdrawing from social activities.”
  • Make it clear your loved one is not alone and that you love them.
  • Know your loved one may become emotional or angry. Know they are not upset with you, but with their situation.
  • Do not become defensive. Allow your loved one to express their anger or emotions. Then, reinforce that you are there for them with empathy. For example, “I realize it might be upsetting to confront this issue, but I am here for you no matter what.”
  • Understand it can take time for the person to accept treatment, and you may need to have the conversation more than once.  
  • Have information and resources available for them, such as an appointment made at their primary care office or a list of clinicians in the area.
  • Ensure you will be there for them through their whole treatment process.
  • Take care of yourself. You cannot help someone if you are under constant stress about your loved one. Take the time to care for yourself, and share your techniques with your loved one.
  • If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.