Hearing voices can be a very scary experience, but it can also be a scary or worrying experience if someone you care about hears voices, especially if you don’t know how best to help and offer support.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that to the person hearing voices, their experience is very real, and so you should accept this, even if you find it hard to understand. With this, try not to judge your loved one – for many people hearing voices, they are worried that people will think they are very unwell, therefore meaning they don’t want to talk about. So show understanding towards your loved one.
Educate yourself on hearing voices – find out what it means, who can experience voice hearing and why. Take a look at our other pages on what hearing voices is.
Have a conversation with your loved one about what can cause them to hear voices – are there particular experiences and situations that can make things worse? Then discuss things that can help them and try not to make assumptions based on what you think will help. It’s okay to suggest things, but give your loved one space to talk without sharing all of your own ideas. Offer your support and ask how you can help, if they want it.
Offer reassurance that they’re not alone – lots of people hear voices, for many different reasons – and they also have your support.
Suggest that they continue to talk about their experiences, whether it’s with you, a friend, a doctor, or other people who hear voices. And encourage them to seek treatment and support, if they want it.
Finally, look after your own wellbeing so that you are in the best place to be able to support the person you care about. Supporting someone else can put a strain on your own wellbeing, so make sure you take time for you. You can find out more about wellbeing in our Wellbeing pages.