How to help a mate who is struggling
Are you concerned about someone close to you? Are they acting differently?
Are they irritable or angry? Not seeing friends? Withdrawn? Confused?
It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to talking about mental health. So here are five steps you can take to approach a conversation with someone you might be worried about.
If you are concerned about someone close to you, simply ask them. Be gentle and relaxed when you do and remember that they might not respond straight away, but don’t give up – try again at a later date.
Try: “You don’t seem yourself lately. Is everything okay?”
When they do decide to respond, listen to everything they have to say. Don’t try and justify or excuse the way they are feeling – just listen. When they have finished talking, acknowledge what they have told you and encourage them to explain further by asking leading questions.
Try: “I’m really glad that you’ve told me how you’re feeling. How long have you felt like this? Do you know why you feel this way?”
3. Recommend help
Give a few options about how they can seek help. The first step for anyone feeling down is to visit their GP. There are also hotlines that they can contact which are listed on the back of this booklet. Emphasise that there is no shame in seeking help and that people do it on a daily basis.
Try: “You could have a chat to your GP about it. They see people about this sort of thing all the time. Do you want me to help you make an appointment?”
4. Follow up
Make sure you check in with them and see how they are doing. Let them know you are there for them. This could just be a text or phone call or, better yet, a coffee catch up at a quiet café.
Try: “Hey mate, just wanted to see how things are going. When are you free to catch up for a coffee?”
5. Support for yourself
Having someone close to you who is struggling with their mental health can be very stressful. It’s really important to look after your own mental health and, if necessary, seek professional support for yourself.
HelpingMinds offers free and confidential services to people who have someone close to them who lives with mental health challenges.
Call us today on (08) 9427 7100 to find out more.