Starting the conversation

If you are concerned about someone it may be helpful to raise your concern with them. Before starting the conversation try to understand their situation and plan what you would like to say.

If you would like to chat to someone you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
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Do not worry if you don’t know exactly what to say — it doesn't need to be scripted. Remember being supportive and listening can really help to make a difference.

Plan what you are going to say, but prepare to be flexible. It can really help to steer them towards support services, as this step can seem overwhelming for someone who is having difficulties.

To understand what services are available to them check our service finder or call us on 1800 667 877 to discuss confidentially what our service is able to provide for your friend, colleague or family member.


Think about the most appropriate time and place. Find somewhere private where the person will feel comfortable.

Choose a time when you are both calm, and when you feel the person is most likely to be receptive and able to participate in the discussion.

You might open with "I’d like to talk something over with you that’s been worrying me. Is this a good time or shall we talk later?"

Having the conversation

Talk about the changes that you have been observing in them. It is important not to be judgmental, angry or accusing. There's no right way of expressing things – the main thing is to be thoughtful and genuine. An example might be, "I know you’ve been having trouble sleeping and concentrating lately, can we talk about that?"

Stay calm

Do your best to speak in a calm, quiet voice. Be aware of your own body language, and try to maintain eye contact and sit in a relaxed position.

Be a good listener

Do not underestimate the power of listening. Giving the person space to talk and letting them know that they have been heard is a valuable and supportive contribution. Remember that this is their story, so don’t try to guess how it plays out. Instead, listen and ask questions.

You don’t need to have all the answers — it’s about the conversation and the support you offer by talking. By showing support and offering to talk, you can make a difference. The person might take action at a later stage or continue the conversation with others.

Have patience

Be patient — it may take a while for the person to process what you are saying and respond to your concerns. Giving the person time to reflect on the discussion is beneficial. Returning to the discussion at a later time may be helpful.

What can I do next?

If you think that a nurse, midwife or student you know is struggling with a health issue you might like to try and get them some assistance. Why not read about:

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

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