How to help a friend with poor mental health
Sometimes it’s hard to know if someone’s struggling with their mental health, because everyone can act differently when they’re going through a tough time.
Signs someone might be struggling
Some of the ways people might act differently are:
- seeming distant, or not themselves
- not meeting up or responding to messages as much as normal
- spending more time on their own
- not chatting, smiling or laughing as much
- showing lower self-esteem
- talking about feelings that worry you, or saying ‘I can’t do it any more’
- not doing things they normally like
- crying or shouting
- smoking, drinking, or using drugs when they didn’t before.
Some of the physical changes you might notice in people are:
- not dressing like they used to
- gaining or losing weight
- eating too much or too little
- can’t concentrate
- looking tired
- not washing or taking care of themselves
- hurting themselves on purpose.
How can I help?
Sometimes it can be hard to know how to support a friend who may be struggling. Here are some tips on how you could help.
Be supportive – Ask how they’re feeling. They might not want to say, but you’re letting them know you care.
‘How can I help?’ – We all like to be supported in different ways. Ask your friend what would help them best.
Be open minded – Take time to sit and listen to your friend. Don’t judge them for how they feel.
Talk about other things – Mental health is only one part of their life. Talk about the things you usually do.
Show respect – Your friendship could mean a lot. Show your friend that they are right to trust you.
Look after yourself – Supporting a friend can be stressful – make sure you look after yourself too.
There’s lots more information and advice on how to support a friend on the Mind website.
Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 5th August 2021