Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to an end and I want everyone to know that I am here for you if you ever need to talk. Just because the month is almost over, it isn’t the end of raising awareness and ending the stigma towards mental health. We all have to keep the conversation going, help encourage others to reach out and support friends who may be struggling with their mental health.
Is Your Friend Going Through a Hard Time?
Everybody experiences mental health issues in different ways. Some common signs of distress may include: not acting like they normally do, a loss of interest in the things they used to enjoy, talking about feelings of hopelessness, being more reckless, or isolating from family and friends. Talking to your friend about mental health can be scary – but reaching out when you’re feeling down or when you see a friend struggling can make a huge difference.
Not Sure What to Say?
Sometimes mental health discussions can be kind of tricky. Try one of these opening lines to get the conversation rolling:
- “Maybe it’s me, but I was wondering if you were all right.”
- “I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately. What’s going on?”
- “Hey, we haven’t talked in a while. How are you?”
- “Seems like you haven’t been yourself lately. What’s up?”
- “Are you OK? You don’t seem like yourself lately.”
- “I know you’re going through some stuff; I’m here for you.”
- “No matter what you’re going through, I’ve got your back.”
- “This is awkward, but I’d like to know if you’re really all right.”
- “I haven’t heard you laugh in a while. Is everything OK?”
- “I’m worried about you and would like to know what’s up so I can help.”
- “Is there anything you want to talk about?”
- “Hey, you seemed frustrated today. I’m here for you. Want a hug? Or a chat?”
- “I feel like something’s up. Can you share with me?”
- “You know you can tell me anything. I won’t judge.”
- “Whenever you’re ready to talk, I’m ready to listen.”
- “I know life can be overwhelming sometimes. So, if you need to talk, I’m here.”
There is No Need to be An Expert. Just be a Friend.
It’s hard to know what to say to someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. These tips should make it easier to talk about mental health:
- Keep it casual. Relax: think of it as a chill chat, not a therapy session.
- Listen up. Let them take the lead.
- Avoid offering advice or trying to fix their problems.
- Let them know it’s OK to feel the way they do.
- Make yourself available. Be the friend they can rely on.
- Ask open-ended questions. Help them talk, not just say “yes” or “no”
- Let them open up at their own speed.
- Don’t demand answers or force them to say anything they’re not ready to.
- Encourage them to talk to an expert.
- Tell them you won’t ever judge them.
- Let them know that this won’t change how you feel about them.
- Ask them if they have seen a doctor.
You Seized the Awkward. Now what?
Keep checking in! It’s one of the best ways to help a friend who’s struggling with depression or anxiety. And if you want to do more, there’s a bunch of other ways to help your friend:
- Don’t give up.
- Keep invitations going.
- Handle their trust with care.
- Get some outside help.
In an Emergency…
If you or your friend needs urgent help, call 911 right away. Or even take your friend to the emergency room for assistance. If you feel it’s safe, stay with your friend or find someone to stay with them until help arrives.
You are not alone, and help is always available. Get immediate support 24/7. Reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting SEIZE to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free, and everything you tell them is confidential, unless it’s essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your friend safe.
To my new followers, welcome to Smiling Through Tears. This blog is a daily account of my struggle with mental health disorders. To all of my returning followers, thank you for supporting me and following my journey.