Help a Friend
[vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_column_text]Positive support from friends and family can greatly diminish the negative affects of someone going through a hard time. You have made an important step in recognizing that someone you know needs help. This site will help you to recognize the problem they may be facing, give you tools on how to start the conversation to effectively respond to their crisis and finally, to refer them to local and regional supports.

We understand that being a support is daunting and can be stressful at times. Check out some tips on how to provide self care as you care for others.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1517772439224{padding-right: 32px !important;}”][vc_empty_space][vc_text_separator title=”MENTAL ILLNESS SUPPORTS” title_align=”separator_align_left” align=”align_right” color=”green” style=”double”][vc_empty_space][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]WHAT IS IT & WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Mental health disorders very rarely come out of the blue. In most cases, there are changes in a person’s behavior, their mood, their relationships with the people around them and their general involvement in daily life. These changes can be quite subtle and easy to miss. They can happen over a quite short period of time or sometimes they can emerge gradually over a number of months.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

How to support my friend?

Supportive friends can play an important role in the mental health recovery process.  All too often, people respond negatively or dismissively when someone discloses that he/she has a mental health disorder.  

It is important to remember that mental health disorders are just as real as physical illnesses and that a person cannot just “snap out of it.” If you are unsure how to react when a friend tells you that they are struggling with a mental health disorder, it can be helpful to think about how you would react if that same friend told you that they had been diagnosed with a physical disorder like diabetes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

Show your support

Express your concern and sympathy, talk openly and make sure that your friend knows that he/she is not alone. The most important thing you can do is just offer to be available.

Listen. If your friend talks about their mental health diagnosis, don’t change the subject.  

  • Resist the temptation to give advice or dismiss their concerns.
  • If your friend discloses personal information, keep his/her trust by not sharing the information with others. The exception is talk about suicide. When suicide is mentioned, it’s time to tell a professional and get help! Call 1-800-784-2433

Ask what you can do to help. You can leave this open-ended (“I want to know how I can best support you.”) or suggest specific tasks that might be helpful (“Can I drive you to your appointment?”).  If you know that your friend is struggling in school, it can be helpful just to offer to study with him/her.

Ask if your friend is getting the treatment that she/he wants and needs. If not, offer to find out about available resources and help your friend find effective care.

Reassure your friend that you still care about him/her.

  • Many people with mental health disorders tend to withdraw from family and friends.
  • Continue to invite your friend to go to dinner, study, talk, or just hang out.
  • Even if he/she doesn’t always feel like talking or spending time together, it can be a comfort just to know that he/she has friends that care.  

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Below are some tips about how you may want to respond if a friend tells you that they have a mental health disorder:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Some of the things to look for include the person:

  • Being more anxious, irritable or angry than usual
  • Not being able to concentrate or take decisions
  • Isolating themselves – not seeing their friends, dropping out of school or activities that they previously enjoyed
  • Appearing suspicious of friends and family
  • Being overly focused on certain things or being a perfectionist
  • Not eating or looking after themselves
  • Having disrupted sleep – which can mean not being able to sleep, or the opposite, sleeping too much.


Helping a Friend Who Has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

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