HOW TO HELP A FRIEND

It can be difficult to know how to help a friend in need.  Here's a toolkit to give you some resources.

WARNING SIGNS

  • Personality changes

  • Neglect of appearance or intense concern with appearance

  • Sudden mood changes

  • Physical symptoms (tiredness, low energy)

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Changes in sleeping patterns

  • Withdraw from social events

  • Reduced ability to concentrate

  • Engagement in reckless behavior

  • Excessive worrying or fear

How to Approach Your friend
  • Listen

    • Ask them how they are feeling​

    • Validate what they are feeling

    • ​Show empathy and practice engaged body language

  • Help them find support

    • Help them brainstorm how to reach out and who to reach out to

    • Offer to help them review therapists if needed

  • Do your research

    • Read about symptoms, causes, and treatments to foster the conversations

  • Take care of yourself

    • Allow yourself to recharge and process your feelings

  • Extend invitations

    • Show them you care by inviting them to spend time with you

If they don't respond the way you hoped
  • If they push you away:

    • Sometimes when people push others away it's a sign that they just want someone to really push them to talk about their feelings

    • Show initiative and perseverance

  • If they say they are fine:

    • People often become accustomed to saying fine because they don't want to be seen as a burden to those that they care about or are used to telling their parents/guardians that

  • If they say they won't trust you if you tell anyone:

    • It's essential speak up and advocate if your friend will not take the actions for themselves

    • ​It's better to know your friend is safe then worry about them in danger

Why it matters

Taking the initiative and going the extra mile to help a friend struggling through depression or other mental illnesses will help them through their journey. They will recognize that someone cares and wants them to get better, even when they feel as though it's impossible.

 

What you can say to validate their feelings

  • "I care"

  • "That sounds difficult"

  • "I'm here for you"

  • "Is there anything I can do to help?"

  • "Do you need someone to talk to?"

  • "Your life makes a difference to me"

  • "It's okay to feel this way"

  • "You aren't weak"

  • "You might not see it now, but I promise there's hope"

  • "You can do this. I'll be right by your side"

Sources