Getting help for a friend can take a bit of time and effort but it is worth it.
As part of being a good and supportive friend, there are times when we will need to check in with our friends, to ensure that they are okay. Good help will assist your friend to deal with their problems and help them get on with life.
Take a look at the information below and download our fact sheet for more information.
1. Listen and try not to judge or “fix things” straight away – taking the time to listen lets them know that you care and that their feelings are important. If someone has been going through a tough time, it can be a big relief to talk about what has been going on. Listening can be helpful, even without taking any actions, it might just be what they need. And don’t panic, the fact that your friend sees something is wrong is a really important first step.
2. Let your friend know that they don’t have to go through this on their own and that you are there to help and support them.
3. Some people need ‘time’ or ‘space’ before they’re willing to accept help. Just giving them information about where to get help or providing them with fact sheets can be useful.
4. Suggest they read stories about other young people who have made it through difficult times; it may help reduce their feelings of being alone and give them hope for the future.
5. Be honest about why you are worried and ask if anyone else knows about how they are feeling.
7. Don’t be too forceful in encouraging self-help activities. It’s important to understand that your friend may not feel able to use them because of how they are feeling, or they may not be enough to help them to feel better. If they’re interested, you may be able to do some of the strategies with them (e.g. going for a walk, watching their favourite movie).
8. Encourage them to talk to a trusted adult about what is going on and how they are feeling (e.g. a family member, teacher, sports coach).
9. Sometimes, self-help strategies and/or talking to family and friends is not enough and that’s okay. There are a lot of professionals out there who can help. Suggest they make an appointment with their general practitioner (GP) or their nearest headspace centre if things don’t begin to improve. You could offer to go with them if they need some extra support.
10. Let them know about eheadspace if your friend would prefer to seek help online rather than face-to-face. eheadspace.org.au provides free online and telephone support (1800 650 890) for young people. Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) also provide free and confidential support over the phone.
Also check the related topics:Managing friendships Helping a friend