Friends are often the people that we trust the most with our authentic selves. Friends are there to have our backs no matter what. Oftentimes, though, people avoid talking about serious topics with their friends, opting instead to keep things light and fun. The subject of mental health can be a tough one to bring up, but it’s really important to talk about with your close friends. If you are encountering mental health problems, talking to a trusted friend can be a great help. If one of your friends is having difficulties, reaching out to check on them can be a life-saving gesture.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
It can be scary to bring up the topic of mental health with your friends. Don’t let the fear of judgment hold you back from showing concern for someone or getting help. A message as simple as checking on a friend’s feelings can be a good starting point. If you’re not feeling great, reach out to a trusted friend to let them know you need someone to talk to. Sometimes we assume that people are too busy to talk, but true friends will make the time to hear what you have to say.
Share what you’re going through
Whether you have a diagnosed mental illness or are just feeling low temporarily, it’s good to have a few friends who know the details of what you’re going through. Be honest when you talk about your mental illness and try not to sugarcoat things just to avoid placing a “burden” on your friends. Knowing the truth means they know how to help you the best. As you learn more about your mental illness, share that knowledge with them. This will help them become better allies in your work toward being healthy.
Are you worried about a friend?
If you have a friend who you think might be going through some difficulties, don’t be nosy, but persistent. Let them know you’re thinking about them regularly and keep inviting them to join you in social activities. Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t tell you everything about what they’re struggling with, they might not be ready quite yet. Reminding them of how much your friendship means will help reassure them that you will love them unconditionally.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline is available to you 24/7. It’s free and confidential: 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, visit IASP.info