Taking time to talk


If you don’t ask for what you need, all of the support, experience and resources that people would gladly share with you go to waste. The solution is to learn how to ask for help. It sounds simple, and yet it can feel so difficult. We are afraid of looking weak or childish. We are afraid our requests won’t be listened to or that we won’t be understood or taken seriously.

We can also feel that no one wants to help. But research shows that most people—even strangers—are willing to help. But you have to ask. They can’t help you if they don’t know you need it.

Opening Sentences


Try out some of these opening lines and see if you can use them to ask for help for yourself:

I am struggling with …
I need help because…
My biggest hope is …., but I need help getting there.
I need help with…
I feel anxious all/a lot of the time and I need help dealing with it.
I’m not sure what I need. Can you please talk with me?
Can you give me advice about _____?

Who to ask?


Ask for help from someone you trust. Say “yes” when they offer to help you on their own. It might feel awkward at first opening ourselves up to receiving care from others. But it can feel good for you, as well as the person helping you.

Ask the school counsellor or a teacher you trust.

Adult family members can often help. Reach out to your parents, an aunt or uncle, or a grandparent you feel comfortable confiding in.

Support from trained professionals can often be not only helpful but life-changing. Trained professionals have the skills to support you in ways that others may not be able to. It can also be good to open up to a stranger.