Help for a friend
When you are worried about a friend:
There are many reasons you might be concerned about a friends mental health.
It could be that your CBL classmate isn’t attending classes as often as they used to. Your housemate who isn’t sleeping, eating or functioning like they used to. Or it could be your friend who seems to be permanently stressed out, and you are worried about some things that they have said lately.
Any gut feeling that a friend or colleague is struggling is worth a conversation - however, it can be hard to bring these concerns up even with those that you are very close to. UQMind aims to break down the stigma that can make these conversations difficult – and get you all the support you need to mind your own mental health and wellbeing as well as your mates. This page contains some resources and tips that you can check out!
For starting the conversation:
This is a down-to-earth checklist of how you can approach someone you are worried about, with really great tips and links and resources covering how to be a good listener and encouraging someone to seek help.
This is an excellent (and free!) app that helps you plan out a “check- in” with a friend in advance, with heaps of realistic tips and resources of how to approach what can be a tough conversation to have. It is complete with encouragement to carry out the “check-in”, tips on how to give the best help, and a list of the support services available. Downloadable on Apple Store and Google Play
If your friend tells you that they're not coping:
Listen to them, and remember it is okay for you not to have all the answers.
Encourage them to seek help, and ask what you can do to help them best. Never underestimate the benefits a good conversation can have.
Encouraging them to see their GP is a great start, and helping them obtain resources that may help them. ReachOut’s Next Step is a fantastic place to find quality, and relevant resources and advice based on what your friend is going though.
If you're concerned your friend is in imminent danger, don't hesitate to call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If your friend says they are okay (but you're worried they aren’t):
The realisation that you are not coping, or even acknowledging that you need help can be really scary! Therefore it is understandable that a person may reject your offer of help, or say "I'm fine" yet they're continuing to struggle.
Although you may feel powerless to help, there are still many things you can do. Don't try to force the issue, but remain supportive and available to offer help when required. Just knowing you have someone who cares about you, and is willing to talk when you need it can be very comforting.
If things are very serious do not hesitate to seek emergency help.
Make sure you are taking care of yourself:
Make sure to talk to someone if you yourself are feeling distressed, and prioritise your own wellbeing. It can be hard having friends and/or family who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health.
Support people and carers of those with mental illnesses are incredible people – and as such there are dedicated resources and support groups to ensure that they are also cared for and supported.