Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'What do I say to patients with mental health problems?'

  • 1 Comment

Can you advise this student nurse?

“I have never had any major mental health problems, so I really have no idea how exactly they feel or what it would be like to experience them. 

“But as a student nurse, I’ve had to help treat many patients who struggle with their mental health and have gone through more than I can even really imagine.

“I’m always worried about saying the wrong thing in these situations and often don’t really know what to say when patients mention their mental health problems.

“I really want to offer the best support that I can and be there for patients but I’m always afraid of not saying what they need to hear in that moment.

“How can I speak with patients who are struggling with mental health problems and better understand their experiences?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I'm a third year student who has been through my fair share of mental health problems. I've experienced good and bad care but that has shaped my the way I care for my patients.

    I think the worst thing you could do is belittle someone or brush it off as nothing. Don't be afraid to discuss difficult subjects like depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts etc because most people benefit from having someone to speak to. Mental health is like any other condition, patients are often experts in their own condition and know their triggers and what helps them. In a panic attack, help them focus on their breathing and remind them they are safe and help ground them by asking them to name objects in the room. It is difficult so be aware of your limitations and look after yourself and debrief afterwards with a mentor if need be.

    Mind also have some excellent resources to learn about different conditions and how best to help.

    Lots of nurses are apprehensive and don't want to say the wrong thing but if you are well informed and show kindness, you can make such a difference to patients.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.