Text Messages for Mental Health Check-ins: The Do’s and Don’ts

How you reach out matters. These tips will help you craft caring & supportive text messages so you can be there for the ones that need you

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If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a check-in text, you know just how helpful they can be. It doesn’t magically lift the burden of whatever you’re going through, but just knowing that someone cares enough to reach out provides some much-needed peace of mind—even if you’re not ready to talk yet. 

That’s why text messages are such a powerful tool for mental health check-ins. Whether you’re near or far, a quick text is all it takes to stay connected to friends and family across time zones, schedules, and other obstacles that can get in the way of communication.

It’s convenient, private, and the perfect vehicle for meaningful conversations that can help a loved one through a difficult time. But just as a supportive text message can boost their resolve, a well-intended one crafted the wrong way may make matters worse.

Follow along as we lay out the do’s and don’ts for sending helpful check-in texts, what to do for someone in crisis, and how to create a priceless keepsake out of those text conversations that made a difference in your life.


Best Practices for Mental Health Check-In Texts: The Do’s & Don’ts

Whether you know they’re going through something or you just want to check in, it can be easy to overthink what to say.

But remember, the act of reaching out is often enough to comfort someone. You don’t have to have a deeply intellectual conversation for it to be helpful.

In fact, simpler is often better when sending supportive text messages.  Here are some general rules for crafting your mental health check-in texts:


  • Keep it simple. 

    • Ex. “Hey Jessica, how’re you doing? It’s been a while!” Or, “Hey Jessica, I heard what happened. I’m so sorry! How are you holding up?”

  • Let the person know you’re there for them and encourage them to reach out for help if needed.

  • Provide words of support and understanding.

    • Ex. “I’m sorry you’re in a rough patch right now. If it helps at all, I believe in you 100% and I know you’ll come out of this stronger in the end.”

  • Remind the person how important they are to you.

  • Invite the person to talk about their mental health. 

    • Ex. “If you need to vent or talk something through, feel free. I’m happy to listen.”

  • Offer to talk over the phone if they’d like or, if possible, visit them in person. You can set a boundary beforehand too.

    • Ex. “We don’t have to talk about it at all. We can just hang out and do something fun to get your mind off things. I’d love to see you soon!”

  • If you live nearby, offer to help with daily tasks that may be piling up for them.

  • Ask if you can send positive affirmations and inspirational quotes that may help cheer them up.

  • Thank them for sharing when they open up to you.



  • Pressure the person to talk if they don’t want to.

  • Give unsolicited advice. People aren’t always looking for advice when they open up about their mental health. Sometimes they just want to be heard. 

    • To avoid giving unwanted advice, a great message to send is, “Thanks for sharing what you’re going through, I know that probably wasn’t easy. Are you looking for solutions right now or do you just want to get it all out?”

  • Make assumptions about, judge, or criticize the person.

  • Ignore signs of distress or neglect to take action. 

  • Minimize or invalidate the person’s feelings. Not all feelings are logical. Telling someone they shouldn’t be feeling the way they are will only make them feel worse.

    • Messages like, “You’ll be fine, it’s not a big deal,” and “I don’t know why you’re so upset. You’re overreacting” are counterproductive.

  • Send messages that could be triggering or upsetting.

  • Make jokes about what the person is going through.

  • Leave them hanging. Make sure you have time to read their messages and engage in a supportive conversation before asking questions about their mental health. You could be the only person they’re comfortable talking with at that time, so it’s crucial to be there for them as long as possible.  

    • If you run out of time during a mental health check-in, set up another time to text, talk, or visit the person before you leave the conversation. Ex. “I’m so sorry, I have to go now, but I really want to continue this conversation with you. Can I get back to you in an hour?”


In addition to these guidelines, it’s important to remember that mental health check-ins aren’t just for when something major happens (i.e., breakups, lost loved ones, etc.).

You never know what someone’s going through in their daily life, and a quick “How’ve you been?” message could land in their inbox at the perfect time.

So, reach out to those friends and loved ones you haven’t talked with in a while. It could make their day!



Text Support Lines for Mental Health Crises

If there’s one positive thing that came out of the pandemic, it’s the fact that mental health awareness has exploded in recent years. A 2020 poll found that a great deal more people (of all ages) sought professional counseling since the outbreak.

Luckily, this trend in awareness isn’t exclusive to individuals.

Businesses, schools, and multinational organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) have opened up the conversation about it, fought against the stigma, and started advocating for easily-accessible resources for those struggling with their mental health.

These resources include mental health crisis hotlines where people can have text conversations with trained counselors, such as Crisis Text Line and the NAMI HelpLine. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is also available, but there have been reports that it’s not ideal for those who may act on self-harming or suicidal thoughts.

If you feel like your friend is facing a mental health crisis, give them the number to one of the above text-based hotlines or another trusted resource you know can help them. And if you feel like they’re an immediate threat to you or anyone else, call 911.


Preserving the Messages that Made a Difference

If you have supportive text messages in your inbox that impacted your life, they don’t have to live on your phone forever. In fact, in a handful of simple steps, you can have them printed into a custom memory book that will last forever. 

With the Keepster app, you can download, organize, and make a personalized storybook out of all your favorite texts from iMessage, WhatsApp, LINE, Hike Messenger, and Viber.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the Keepster app to your computer.

  2. Back up your phone’s text messages to your computer through the Keepster app.

  3. Search through your text message backups using names, dates, and keywords, and save your favorites to a new Keepster Folder.

  4. Add your own custom messages and photos anywhere you like in your Keepster Folder collection. (This step allows you to add context, personal notes, or chapters to your book).

  5. In the My Projects tab, select Create New Keepster Book.

  6. Follow the steps to customize your Keepster book to your liking! (With this step, you can choose your color cover and layout, title, write a personal dedication, select the font you like, and more).

  7. If you'd like more in-depth instructions on creating your Keepster book, our blog, How to Make Keepster Books, will guide you through the process step-by-step!


All those messages from close friends and loved ones that got you through tough times, taught you life-changing lessons, and made you who you are today—recorded in one place.

With your Keepster book, you’ll always have an uplifting reminder that you have people in your corner, with inspiring messages you can revisit during dark times.


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