Supporting your friends

People abstract in palmpdf_icon Click here to download the Top Tips for Supporting your Friends postcard PDF

It can be tough to see your mate distressed and unwell, but you don’t need to be an expert to help.
  • Stay in touch.
  • Talk about everyday things—chat about what you normally would.
  • Offer to be there in practical ways— perhaps some moral support at an appointment, company when doing the shopping or catch up for a coffee.
  • Ask how you can help—don’t avoid the subject—but don’t make it the only thing that you discuss.
  • Learn about mental health.  Make the extra effort to ask if they want to go out or meet up—even if in the past they haven’t been well enough to—they may be feeling up to it now.

Just don’t say ‘Cheer up’, ‘I’m sure it’ll pass’ or ‘Pull yourself together’

If I could I would!

How your friend might be feeling: a few ideas for you to think about
  • Some people who experience mental health problems might find it difficult to maintain friendships like they used to.
  • They might feel differently about going out and doing what they used to do.
  • Medication may have changed their appearance or reactions.
  • They may have to avoid drinking alcohol, and it can be difficult to admit this to friends—especially when going out drinking was a large part of socialising.
  • When unwell, people may have done things that were out of character or shocking. This can be really embarrassing, for the person and they not know if you are ok with what happened.
  • Your friend’s confidence may have had a knock and they may find social activities more difficult—check if this seems the case.
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