Of 1,200 young people surveyed across Canada, 83% said they’ve supported a friend struggling with their mental health. Only 39% of them felt they were prepared to offer the support that was needed. Just talking about mental health isn’t enough. We need the knowledge, skills, and confidence to step up and be there for one another.
When it comes to mental health, we all have good days and bad days. And on our bad days, we just need some extra support. We need someone to be there. But being there for someone is an art, not a science. There’s no formula or instruction manual because every situation is different.
Created by Jack.org, Be There is the most engaging and comprehensive online resource available to learn how to support someone struggling with their mental health. It’s natural to want to “fix” a problem our loved one is going through, but being there isn’t about fixing someone.
5 Golden Rules
If you’re concerned someone’s mental distress is more than the regular ups and downs of life, use Be There’s 5 Golden Rules to check in with them and talk about what’s going on. Learn to recognize when someone is struggling, lean into tough conversations and provide support.
Be There gives you 5 Golden Rules to guide you and shares stories from youth putting the Golden Rules to work.
What is helpful is just Be There; showing you support them, listening to them. Now you’ll know if someone you love is struggling if you see changes in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that are intense, long-lasting, and having a negative impact. And if someone you love is struggling, there are five Be There Golden Rules that you can follow and they’re Say What You See, Show You Care, Hear Them Out, Know Your Role, and then Connect to Help. You can use one or more of these rules in whatever way makes sense. Be There is going to teach you how to use them in everyday situations.
- Say What You See – Learn to break the ice and start the conversation.
- Show You Care – Learn to build trust and support someone.
- Hear Them Out – Learn to be a good listener and balance the conversation.
- Know Your Role – Learn to set boundaries to protect your relationship and your mental health.
- Connect to Help – Learn to help someone access professional and community resources.
The Golden Rules can’t tell you exactly what to do to support someone because every person and situation is different. Instead, the Golden Rules are a guide to understanding how to be there in whatever circumstances you find yourself.
There is a longstanding knowledge-to-practice gap when it comes to best practices in mental health. What is most incredible about the Be There resource is that it distils evidence-informed strategies to foster compassion and reduce stigma into an easily understood and universally accessible framework. The platform was co-created by youth, for youth, with advice from experts in the field. Approaches like Be There democratize access to knowledge and deliver education directly to youth.
Dr. Javeed Sukhera
President of the Ontario Psychiatric Association
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The conversation around mental health is growing. Young people are finding the courage to share their struggles and ask for support, but often their friends and families don’t know how to respond. Jack.org is working to change that.
Jack.org is Canada’s only charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory. Through Jack Talks, Jack Chapters, and Jack Summits, young leaders identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities. And through ambitious innovations in youth mental health like Be There, Jack.org gives people the mental health resources they need to educate themselves.