How to Help Others

Helping others when they need it not only helps them, it can make us feel better about ourselves too.

Group of paper doll figures standing together

How can I help a mate in need?

The best help friends can give is often just to be around for them to talk to.

Encouraging them to talk about what's happening. You don't have to pester them - they'll talk when they're ready.

When they do decide to talk:

  • Know how to listen carefully
  • Re-assure them you'll keep what they say private
  • Don't interrupt too much
  • Do ask them to explain if you don't understand
  • Don't feel you have to give advice or try to solve their problems
  • Don't feel you have to respond to everything they say - friendly silences help give people space to think.

Gently encourage them to seek help if they need it.

What if I'm worried they're in danger?

This is the one time when breaking confidentiality with a friend might be the right thing to do.

If possible, you should discuss it with them first and encourage them to get help for themselves.

If you think they're going to harm themselves, tell a trusted adult - a parent, teacher or police officer. The same goes for if you think someone else could be about to harm them.

If they won't get help and you still think they're in serious danger, it's okay to tell even if they asked you not to.

They might not trust you in the same way in future, but at least they'll be safe.

Talk to someone about what's happening and what you should do, you can call Childline free at any time on 0800 1111.

If it's an emergency, call 999.

Is it true that being kind makes us happy?


Research has shown that being kind to others really does make us happier.

That said, you can't force help on people. Well, you can try but they might not thank you.

Instead, keep an eye out for ways to be helpful that are part of the normal flow of events:

  • Help someone you see struggling with heavy bags
  • Pick up someone's dropped change and give it to them
  • Let someone in a rush go first in a queue
  • Give up your bus or train seat to someone who needs it.

For info on how to look after yourself check out Mindfulness Practice Techniques