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How to Talk to Someone You Think Needs Help

Mental health issues affect millions of Americans.  Dr. Phil tells his viewers, "I wish I could tell you that there's a profile where we could predict who was going to become violent and who wasn't, but we can't identify that. What we can do is recognize that there are troubled people in society, and we can try, as citizens of the world, to reach out to them."  

It may be difficult to reach out to someone whom you think needs help. Follow these Dos and Don'ts as a guideline for reaching out:  

  • DON'T say you think they're psychotic, schizophrenic or mentally ill.
  • DO say, "You seem to be under a lot of stress and demand." Ask if you can help in some way.
  • DON'T say, "You need help."
  • DO say, "You deserve help."

For more information on mental health issues, please visit:

Warning Signs of an Adverse Reaction to Tragedy

Dr. Phil explains the warning signs to watch for in a loved one who may be having an adverse reaction to a recent tragedy:

  • Emotional pain, such as crying, angry outbursts or fear responses.
  • Reliving what happened, either awake or in dreams.
  • Withdrawing and isolating themselves.
  • Persistent signs of depression, anxiety or mood swings.
  • A major change in habits like grooming, hobbies, socialization or other typical patterns.

If you have a child recovering from a tragedy, here are some tips to help them through it:

  • Talk, talk, talk. Reassure them as to their safety and security.
  • Limit exposure to media.
  • Conduct business as usual as far as school, life patterns and predictability.
  • Explain the isolated nature of the occurrence.
  • Let them know that telling is not tattling.
  • Be patient with individual reactions.

For more information, please read:

TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Life in crisis?
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