Know this: connection helps.
You don’t need to have all the answers.
Focusing on how much you care about the other person and want what is best for them might help any nerves you have about starting the conversation. Think about this—many people who are struggling with mental health WANT to talk, they often don’t know how and could really use an invitation from someone who cares.
I’ve noticed you check a lot of boxes on this handy What-to-Look-For list. Let’s have a convo about your mental illness.
– SAID NO ONE EVER.
(You probably shouldn’t try this in real life.)
Yet we know from talking to many young people, teachers, parents and caregivers…
it often feels this awkward when starting a conversation with someone you are concerned for.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you
to take that first step and reach in:
Things you can say to a friend you are worried about:
- I’ve noticed you’ve been ______ (down/anxious/frustrated) lately. What’s up?
- I haven’t seen you in a while. How are you doing?
- I feel like you haven’t been yourself lately. What’s going on?
- I know you have been going through a tough time.
Do you want to talk?
- I am here for you, no matter what you are going through.
Can you share with me?
- I am worried about you and would like to help.
What can I do to be there for you?
- Is there anything you want to talk about? I’m here to listen.
- You’re my friend and I care about you.
Something tells me you might need to talk.
- Things can get overwhelming at times, but I am here to listen.
I won’t judge.
Now you know what to say…
but what do you DO once they start talking?
- Just listen. Let them lead the conversation.
- Don’t try to offer advice or try to fix what is wrong.
- Let them know their feelings are OK, no matter how scary
they might be!
- Let them go at their own speed.
Maybe they’re not ready right now but they might be next time.
- Tell them this doesn’t change what you think
of them- no judgement zone.
- Sometimes everyone needs a little extra help- encourage them
to see a professional.
Check out our Mindmatters app to assess your mental health, get support and join the conversation about mind wellness.