It’s May: Here’s How to Help Someone with their Mental Health

If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911. For 24/7/365 support during a mental health crisis, call 988 or Colorado Crisis Services (1-844-493-8255).

You probably know that May is Mental Health Month, where we focus on the importance of mental health in our lives – not just mental illness, but the ways we can support better well-being for ourselves and the people around us.

How can we support better mental health for ourselves and our loved ones? How can we make Mental Health month into “Mental Help” month?

Take a look at this short guide for some tips, how-to guides and resources on how to do just that.

Side note: If you’re a regular reader, you’ll probably recognize a few of these tips. If this was forwarded to you by a friend or family member (lucky you!), be sure to subscribe here so you get all the upcoming editions right to your inbox.

Prepare Yourself to Help Someone Else

It’s true what they say about not being able to pour from an empty cup: we have to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves before we can expect to meaningfully take care of others. This applies to mental health, as well – we can’t support others in their well-being without preparing ourselves first.

A good place to start is to learn how to set healthy boundaries. There are several kinds of boundaries, from expectations about how we want to be (or not to be) treated, to the ability to say “no” to additional responsibilities and tasks at work and home. Setting and keeping strong personal boundaries involves taking stock of what is important to us, what we need more of or less of and then communicating clearly.

When you’re preparing to create space for someone to share what they’re going through, listening well can make a world of difference. This is more than just hearing what someone is saying; it takes a deeper level of engagement that involves body language, verbal confirmations, minimizing distractions and more. Take a quick look through these Five Tips to Become a Better Listener (According to a Therapist).

It’s often helpful to learn about how life experiences can impact both our biology and our mental health, such as how racism affects the brain. Both short and longer-term exposure to experiences related to racism – microaggressions, discrimination, violence and more – can increase stress hormones in the brain. Over time, this can wreak havoc on our bodies, including through high blood pressure, changes in metabolism and elevated risk for heart disease and stroke.

Finally, when you’re ready to build more skills about how to recognize if someone needs support and then provide that support, WellPower offers classes in the internationally recognized Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program. Great for individuals and groups – workplaces, churches, PTAs, clubs, sports leagues and more. Find out about MHFA and sign up for a class here.

How to Improve Mental Health: A Few of our Favorite “How-To’s”

  • How to support someone who is grieving a loss. Grief can take many forms, and each comes with its own set of challenges. Reassure the person that what they’re feeling is natural and that crying is OK, and know when to give them space to process at their own pace. Food can also be a meaningful way of showing someone you are there for them. More tips in the link above.
  • How to answer the question, “Am I drinking too much?” It’s common for adults of legal drinking age to use alcohol as a way to wind down after a long day or have fun with friends. Many of us enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, a happy hour beer or a cocktail at a party. But how much is too much? Follow the link above to find out.
  • How to cook a meal to improve mental health. In addition to the clear benefits of healthy food, many therapists recommend cooking classes as a way to treat depression and anxiety, as well as eating disorders, ADHD and addiction. Follow the link above to watch Dr. Carl Clark, president and CEO of WellPower, demonstrate how to prepare a delicious dish on FOX31 Morning News.
  • How to add more creativity to your life. From drawing to listening to music to playing with clay, you might be surprised at how easy it can be to incorporate more creativity into your daily life – and reap all the mental health benefits.
  • How to harness the power of “flow” – finding activities that make you lose track of time. Becoming fully immersed in what we’re doing can have benefits similar to meditation and some kinds of therapy.
  • How to get the most out of a walk around the block. In addition to getting a little more exercise, walking can help us disconnect from our hectic digital lives, reconnect with the natural world and even strengthen our connections with other people.

When to Bring in Professional Help

If you’re supporting someone with mental health concerns, know when it’s time to seek help from professionals. Here are a few ways to get help based on different kinds of needs.

Emergencies and urgent mental health situations

If safety is ever a question, call for emergency help from first responders. When in doubt, call 911. In Denver, when you call 911 you can ask the dispatcher to send the STAR team, which sends a mental health clinician and a paramedic to certain types of calls.

For support during mental health emergencies, you can call the national 988 line, which will connect you to a local center based on your area code. In Colorado, call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255, text “TALK” to 38255, or visit a 24/7 Walk-In Center.

Immediate care, all virtual

When you’re feeling down, anxious, or alone, or you just want to talk to someone who gets it, TherapyDirect lets you connect directly to a professional counselor in minutes. No appointments or scheduling – just hop on your phone, laptop, or tablet for a 100% secure and confidential video call. Insurance is not required, and there are no program fees. Available from your mental health experts at WellPower, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., at

Longer-term clinical services

To access the full range of clinical services at WellPower, you can give us a call at (303) 504-7900. WellPower offers therapy and medication management, as well as residential programs, education and job training support, resource centers and a lot more. It can be helpful to know what to expect. Here’s a brief overview of what the first steps might look like.

May As “Mental Help” Month

Everyone deserves to experience better well-being, including you. Fortunately, there are things you can do to support yourself and the people around you. And when you have questions, are interested in more resources, or could use some more support, feel free to reach out. We’re here for you.