Being There For Others In Challenging Times

Samaritans Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Government’s Clear Your Head campaign to offer advice on being there for others during these challenging times.

A new video created by volunteers of the charity encourages people to continue checking in on each other and shares practical tips on supporting friends and family who may be struggling with their mental health.

The tips include:

  • Ask how someone is doing and let them talk openly and honestly
  • When talking, put away your phone and other distractions to show that you’re focused on them
  • Ask open questions, rather than questions that can be answered with a yes or no
  • Repeat back what someone has told you to make sure you’ve understood what they’re saying
  • If you can’t be there in person, you can send a message or talk by phone or video chat
  • Supporting someone can be tough on you too – so make sure you look after yourself and ask for help if you need it

Recognising that these times remain challenging for everyone, Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey is encouraging people to look after themselves and each other.

Clare Haughey said:

“These have been challenging times for all of us, however this year we have seen people talking more openly and honestly about their mental health than ever before, and I really hope that is a lasting legacy of the pandemic.

“Feelings of stress and worry are understandable as things continue to change, and it’s so important we continue to be kind to ourselves and look out for each other. Remember that help and support is available if you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling.”

The Clear Your Head campaign was launched by the Scottish Government to encourage people to take simple steps to take better care of their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

As well as looking out for each other and keeping in touch with friends and family, this includes keeping to a routine, staying active, taking a break, making time to do something you enjoy, and asking for help if you need it.

The campaign website – – also signposts sources of help and advice including NHS Inform, and helplines including Samaritans, NHS24, Breathing Space and SAMH.

Rachel Cackett, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland Samaritans, said:

“Since the coronavirus pandemic began we’ve all become more aware of the importance of staying connected with family and friends.

“At Samaritans we know how powerful making time to listen and talk can be. For someone who is going through a difficult time, a simple conversation can remind them that they are not alone and encourage them to share what they’re feeling. 

“We know that people can sometimes feel unsure of how to check in on someone they care about, especially at this time when meeting in person if more difficult. But this video shows that – whether it’s face to face, over the phone, messenger or video – there are simple steps we can all take to be there for one another.”

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