If you’ve noticed signs and symptoms suggesting that your friend is going through a mental health problem, there’s nothing wrong with talking to them about your concerns. Make sure you pick the right place and time for this sensitive conversation. Choose a quiet place where you can talk privately and without interruptions. Make sure you both have enough time to dedicate to each other.
Starting the conversion can be difficult. The key is to show your friend that you care and that they are not alone. Here are a couple of examples of conversation starters:
If your friend starts opening up, make sure you keep the focus on the person, i.e. their emotions and what they are going through. Empathise and listen. Avoid making the conversation about you by, for example, going on about what you went through. Make sure you don’t say anything that trivialises what your friend is going through.
DON’T say things like:
- “It’s all in your head”
- “Look on the bright side”
- ” We all go through times like this”
- “Just snap out of it and pull yourself together”
- “You have so much to live for, why are you feeling like this?”
If the person does not want to talk about the matter, don’t force them or try to make them feel they have to. Ask the person how you can help.