I Want To Help

Please watch this short video on how to identify and help someone in need.

We have designed a free, online educational module to help you better identify those individuals who need help and how to help them. The educational module will include more about the following:

(1) what can mental illness look like? (signs/symptoms/risk factors)

(2) best practices and evidence for getting help, available resources, and non-pharmacological treatments/therapies;

(3) what to do if I am thinking about harming myself or others; and

(4) I am worried about a family member or friend, what can I do to help?

To access the module, please follow these instructions:

1. Go to https://elearning.nursing.osu.edu/course/index.php
2. Select “I Will Help You Initiative” from the course list.
3. Select “For Individuals Needing Help” from the list.
4. Select Create New Account if you are a new user or login with your existing account if you are a returning user. If you are registering as a new user you will receive an email with a confirmation link to verify you have used a valid email address. After receiving this e-mail, please click on the link to activate your account.
5. You will then be directed to a website and you will need to click on the button that says “Enroll Me.”
6. This should complete your enrollment into the course.

Please consider taking the pledge to solidify your commitment to helping those who may not be able to help themselves. 


Identifying people with mental illness

Warning signs of mental illness: withdraw, drop in functioning, problems thinking, apathy, unusual behavior, and mood changes (APA, 2015).

If a person thinks they are depressed, do a depression screening and take it to a health care professional. (example: PHQ-9)

Approaching people with mental illness

Know how to connect people to help

Communicate in a straight forward manner

Speak at a level appropriate for the person’s age and developmental level

Discuss the topic when and where the person feels safe and comfortable

Watch for reactions during the conversation and slow down or back up if the person gets confused or looks upset

Ref: DHHS, 2016

Triaging people with mental illness

  • Mental Health First Aid
    • Assess risk of suicide or harm
    • Listen non-judgmentally
    • Give reassurance and information
    • Encourage person to get appropriate professional help
    • Encourage self-help strategies
    • How to recognize the signs/symptoms of mental health problems, provide help to the person in need, and guiding the person toward treatment and support
    • 5 steps:

(Reference: O’Neill, A. M., Leyva, V. L., Humble, M. N., Lewis, M. L., & Garcia, J. A. (2014). Mental Health First Aid USA: the implementation of a mental health first aid training program in a rural healthcare setting. Contemporary Rural Social Work, 6, 117-125. Retrieved February 5, 2017.)

  • CPR for mental health
  • Helps decrease stigma and increase supportive behaviors
  • Increases confidence in helping those experiencing mental distress
  • Enhances knowledge of and sensitivity to mental illness, in addition to understanding
  • May be beneficial training for healthcare providers including nurses and physicians (National Council for Behavioral Health. (n.d.). Mental Health First Aid Efficacy: A Compilation of Research Efforts. Retrieved February 5, 2017, from https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/MHFA-Research-Summary-UPDATED.pdf)
  • Mental Health First Aid

Essential values for responding to a mental health crisis29 *

  • Avoid harm
  • Intervening in person-centered ways
  • Shared responsibility
  • Addressing trauma
  • Establishing feelings of personal safety
  • Based on strengths
  • The whole person
  • The person as a credible source
  • Recovery, resilience, and natural supports
  • Prevention

Learn more about our initiative by exploring the rest of this page or at our various social media accounts!