Posted on Nov 20, 2023

How can you support mental health and well-being? Here are some tips.


  • Invest in intentional, meaningful relationships that build a sense of belonging.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of mental illness to increase your own knowledge and help you raise awareness.
  • Discuss the importance of self-care and share examples that may resonate with others. Use wording that challenges stereotypes or myths and makes it clear that mental health issues are only one part of who someone is.
  • Learn what professional mental health resources are available in your area or nation and share them as appropriate.
  • Be an active listener. Give people your full attention and be aware of your body language. For example, try to sit up straight and make eye contact. Acknowledge what the person is telling you.
  • Validate what people say and be empathetic. This could mean saying, “I appreciate that you are sharing this with me” or “It must have been difficult to talk about this.”
  • Ask open-ended questions, such as, “What was that like for you?” or “How did that make you feel?” Doing so gives people an opportunity to share without judgment.
  • Use appropriate language that focuses on the person, not the mental health issue. For example, say, “She has depression” rather than “She’s depressed.” Use evidence-based wording in line with professional practice.
  • Be a mental health ally. In this role, you can support someone and offer resources or direct the person to professionals as appropriate.


  • Trying to have a conversation about a difficult topic in a space that doesn’t offer privacy.
  • Dismissing mentions of uneasiness or sadness. Instead, use them as opportunities to engage in further discussion.
  • Advising a specific intervention or solution when you discuss a mental health issue. Leave this to professionals with expertise.
  • Offering unsolicited advice, no matter how well-intended. Someone might want to share without seeking solutions.
  • Engaging in comparisons. Sharing personal experiences can be a powerful way to connect, but everyone’s situation is different. Make sure to recognize the other person’s experience.
  • Minimizing what someone is experiencing by using language such as, “It could always be worse” or something similar.
  • Invalidating the feelings that someone shares with you, such as by saying, “You’re overreacting” or “You’ll be fine.”
  • Using language that labels or stigmatizes someone, such as describing people or situations as “crazy” or “insane.”
  • Trying to fix everything for someone who confides in you or asks for support. Seek out resources and be an ally for the person.
Find out more in the Prioritizing Mental Health brochure, which has information about Rotary International President Gordon McInally’s mental health initiative and ideas for how your club and district can get involved. Download it at