You can go into the contacts panel and find a new message where you can accept to help or reject. Nothing will proceed forward until you have selected one of those.
Distress calls work much the same way, you can repair their ship without accepting the mission but nothing special will happen and you will not gain any credit for doing so.
In general if you get confusing messages like this try checking the contact panel for more info.
p.s. The message will be under the comms text feed tab not the inbox tab (where I would expect to find it) and is a bit of a pain to access so not altogether obvious or user friendly.
Last edited by Norwin Palmer
on Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.