Supporting Friends With Their Mental Health

In life, we often rely on our friends to support us during challenging times. But what happens when a friend vanishes, leaving you to wonder what went wrong? 

Friendships can profoundly impact your mental well-being, and having a reliable and supportive friend during difficult times can be a lifeline. However, when your friend faces significant mental health challenges like hearing voices, experiencing panic, or holding unusual beliefs, know how to show up for them. 

In this blog, explore a simple list of ways that offer valuable insights on being there for a struggling friend. With these meaningful ways – you can provide support, compassion, and friendship during their journey to wellness. 

Ready to foster a strong friendship that can weather any storm? 

Acknowledge Your Friend’s Core Identity

Supporting a friend going through a mental health crisis can be challenging and rewarding. 

It is crucial to remember that despite any changes in their behaviour, they are still the same person, and although mental illness may impact their actions, it doesn’t alter the essence of who they are. 

Being there for them as you always have, engaging in activities together, and maintaining a sense of normalcy can mean the world to them during this difficult time.  

Lastly, patience and compassion go a long way, so having a non-judgmental and supportive approach can send a reassuring message that they are not alone in their journey to recovery.

Stay By Their Side and Offer Help

During a mental health crisis, it’s crucial not to leave your friend alone. While you may not have all the answers, your presence and support can provide comfort and reassurance. Remember, you don’t need to resolve the crisis yourself, but being there can make a significant difference.

Also, providing your friend with essential resources can make a significant difference if your friend is struggling with thoughts of suicide or needs immediate assistance; share helplines and mental health resources. Normalizing seeking help and guiding your friend to the right support networks can be crucial to their recovery and well-being.

 Offer Them a Listening Ear 

Your willingness to be there and hear your friend out can mean a lot to them. Even if you can’t fully grasp their struggles, showing support will let them know they are not alone.

But also remember, your role as a friend differs from that of a therapist. It’s okay to listen and validate their experiences, but if your friend needs professional help, encourage them to seek assistance from mental health providers. Your support as a friend can be significant, but leave the therapeutic expertise to trained professionals.

Avoid Dismissing Their Experiences 

Mental health difficulties can be confusing and disorienting, making it challenging for your friend to distinguish between different emotions and thoughts. Take their ideas seriously, validate their feelings, and tell them that their voice matters to you. This validation can provide a sense of reassurance and help them feel heard and respected. 

Every person’s emotions and thoughts are valid, regardless of their mental health status. Just show your friend that you genuinely care about their perspectives and feelings.