Tips & Etiquette

You don’t need special training to be an Emotional Support Human. Wanting to help your friend, neighbor or loved one is all that’s needed.  

Use this guide with tips and conversation starters to reach out, check in and be a support for those in your life struggling with mental or emotional health.

Translated tips available! Click to view tips and information in Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean and Spanish.

What do I say?

I’d like to ask if they’re ok, but what do I say to bring it up? Finding the words to ask a friend or loved one if they’re dealing with a mental health challenge might be the hardest part. Consider using one of these phrases – they might help break the ice.

How do I say it?

I know what I want to say, but how (and where) do I say it? Maybe you need help creating a comforting space to have a conversation. Consider these tips to encourage a positive discussion.

What else can I do?

I’d like to show my support in actions as well as words. How can I offer help? Showing someone you care can be another powerful way to express support. Consider one of these ideas to offer practical help to a friend or loved one struggling with mental or emotional health. 

How do I know I’m being supportive?

What questions should I ask myself to make sure I’m following my Emotional Support Human etiquette? Offering support isn’t a one-time deal. You’ll have ongoing relationships with people living with emotional and mental health challenges. Consider regularly self-checking your expectations to be sure you’re still supporting them the best way possible.


You’re here because you want to help. Build on that feeling and take the steps to reach out.

Know your limits. You are (probably) not a professional, and they may need more support than you’re able to offer. Be ready to reach out for professional help when it’s needed.

Keep checking in. Someone living with a mental illness is doing just that – living with it. Every day. Don’t forget to check in regularly and let them know you’re still there to offer support.

Tell them you care. Tell them that, even though you may not be able to understand how they feel, they are important to you, they matter to you, and they are not alone.

Go forth and be, you Emotional Support Human!

I want to be an Emotional Support Human!

Good Human! Join us and sign the pledge to become an Emotional Support Human. You’ll join a growing group of people in Howard County who care, and you’ll receive a downloadable copy of tips and details on Emotional Support Human etiquette.