It’s difficult to know what to do when someone that you care about is clearly going through hard times. Your instinct will tell you to spend more time with them, to encourage them to take up their hobbies, and to be there for them when they need someone to lean on. But what else can you do to support your friend, either as an individual or as a group of concerned loved ones? This article offers three key interventions you can make to help your friend navigate through difficult moments in their life.
Without a doubt the most important safety net for anyone who has fallen into difficult times is to have a support network around them. They may not be fully aware of it, but there will be a number of concerned people in their lifeensuring that they’re available should they be needed for support. If you’re concerned that a friend is struggling, it might be time to unite this support network.
You’ll know members of your friend’s family as well as their network of friends that they’ve built over the years. Ensuring that you’re sensitive to your friend’s privacy, it’s important to unite their support network so that you’re all able to provide help – whether that’s making regular checks to see how they are ororganizing small social events to keep them active and outgoing.
There are also a number of services that your friend might be able to access in order to help them deal with their mental health difficulties. From a CBT course or online therapy to in-person counselling, all of these courses are designed to help people escape from negative thought cycles and find constructive ways in which they can start building positivity back into their lives.
It’s worth suggesting to your friend, if the moment feels right, that they could access these services. The stigma around accessing mental health assistance has melted away, and you can help give that final nudge by saying that you’d support your friend fully through their therapy process. Visit Change Futures – Psychology Services to look into the kinds of services you could introduce your friend to.
It’s not always the case that those struggling will wish to talk about it with someone, but you should always make sure that you’re maintaining open and empathetic communication channels with your friend in case they would like to sit down with you and discuss something that’s been bothering them.
Usually, it’s best not to press for details or to try to drag anything out of someone who is in mental pain or distress. Rather, you should let them come to you with their concerns, listening compassionately and asking sensitive questions that can help them express themselves fully. Sometimes, just the act of getting something of their chest can help your friend feel a little better. Always be prepared to lend both ears to a friend in distress.
These three responses are all appropriate ways in which you can intervene to help a friend who is suffering from mental health issues.