Government of Western Australia

Supporting family and friends

  • Remember not everyone will show the same symptoms of depression or anxiety; culture influences how mental health is expressed. People from different cultures all over the world, and within Australia, vary in how mental illness symptoms appear.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts.
  • Ask if the person is considering suicide. If the person comes from a culture or community that does not mention ‘suicide’, use alternative questions such as ‘do you not want to live anymore?’
  • Be considerate of other family members, and never blame or insult a family member of the person you are trying to help. Shame is an important concept within many Aboriginal communities
  • Open your mind when confronted with something you don’t understand. The person you are trying to help needs to know you are a safe space, and coming from a place of understanding is one of the best ways you can accomplish that.
  • Support the person’s decisions on what care they seek. The person you are helping may prefer certain people or cultural help.


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