As we go through life, there will be times when someone in your friendship group is struggling. This might be because of the pandemic, lockdown, personal issues, or mental health issues.
Whatever problem is facing your friend, there are a few ways that you can be there for them, and support any friends or loved ones that need help.
In this post, I've come up with 5 ways to support a friend who is struggling, including looking out for yourself and making sure you do the best thing for the important people in your life.
1. Don't force them to talk
If your friend is going through something, it's easy to feel like they should talk to you. And I'm sure they will, at some point. But you won't achieve anything by forcing your friend to talk to you, and you might even push them away.
Instead of trying to coax your friend into telling you their troubles, make it clear that you are there when they need you- but you won't push them or make them feel uncomfortable.
2. Reach out gently
Try reaching out to your friend gently. Drop them a message to let them know that you're still around, or make the effort to meet up with them if they feel up to it. Let them know that you're still there and that they can talk as and when they want to without judgement.
It's important to be gentle when someone is going through something or struggling mentally, and pushing someone to go out or speak when they don't feel ready won't help.
3. Look after yourself
It might seem strange but one of the best ways to support a friend who is struggling is to make sure you are feeling good. Deal with any of your own mental health issues and reach out to someone else for support if you need it.
It is harder to support someone else if you aren't feeling good in yourself, and supporting someone can be draining. So if it gets too much, speak to someone else and prioritise your own self-care.
4. Make it clear you aren't going anywhere
If someone is struggling they might not go out as much, or make an effort to socialise. Let them know that you will still be there when they feel better- and you are always there for them when they need it. This will help them feel better about taking time for themselves if that's what they need, without worrying about losing your friendship.
You'll always be there for your friend, and this is a fantastic thing to hear when you're going through a tough spot.
5. Make gentle suggestions
Sometimes you can't be the only person supporting a friend, and someone more professional needs to get involved. If you are worried about the mental health of someone you love, make gentle suggestions about them reaching out to someone else or perhaps exploring therapy.
There's only so much you can do, and there are plenty of helpful services available for those who need a little extra help with their mental health.
I hope these suggestions are helpful for the next time you feel like you need to support a friend who is struggling with their mental health or personal issues.
Everyone struggles from time to time, and it's important that we know how to support our loved ones as well as look after ourselves.