how can i help a friend?

The important part of helping your friend is to understand that you are there to offer support but it is up to your friend to decide how they are going to get it. If your friend does not want help, then be patient. Perhaps remind them of their options now and then, but try not to pressure them. If you are worried about their safety or that they are going to hurt themselves somehow, then you need to let someone else know.

look out for signs

Sometimes it can be hard to know if your friend is going through a rough patch or whether there might be something more serious going on like anxiety or depression. You might notice that they are not hanging out with their friends as much anymore or are always tired and feeling down. They might be snappier or perhaps look a mess. When you notice these changes, check in with your friend to see if they’re okay.

listen to your friend's experience

Sitting and quietly listening is the next step. Don’t rush to offer advice. Let them know you are there for them and that you want to help where you can. If they don’t want to talk about it, respect that. Let them know you are worried and that you are happy to listen when they want to talk, or suggest other people. By listening and responding in a non-judgmental and reassuring manner, you are helping in a major way. 

talk about what's going on

Sitting and quietly listening is the next step. Don’t rush to offer advice. Let them know you are there for them and that you want to help where you can. If they don’t want to talk about it, respect that. Let them know you are worried and that you are happy to listen when they want to talk, or suggest other people. By listening and responding in a non-judgmental and reassuring manner, you are helping in a major way. 

seek help together

Encourage your friend to get some support. They might want to start by talking with their family about has been going on or they may prefer to talk with someone that they do not know, like a doctor or health professional. You could help them to find and arrange an appointment with a health professional; you might even offer to go with them to their first appointment to help them feel more relaxed about it. If they don’t feel comfortable with the first health professional, then you could help them find another.