How to help a friend
Every one of us has the ability to be a support to another person. If you see signs that someone you know is struggling, you can be a great support to them by asking if they are OK and being willing to listen and get them to help if needed. Don’t ever underestimate the power you have to connect with another person and help them find hope and stay safe.
01. When should I check-in?
If someone you know is struggling to cope or having a difficult time, you might feel unsure of what to say or how to help. While checking in and asking if they are okay might seem like a difficult conversation to have, it could be a life-saving one. Letting someone know you care and have noticed a change in them is a great place to start. Approaching with an “I” statement can be helpful such as “I have noticed you seem really down at the moment”.
02. Send them a text
It may be easier for someone to reply to a text than having to answer a phone call or answering the door. However others may prefer a hug and a chat over a cuppa so it’s always a good idea to ask. Don’t create an elephant in the room, ask how someone is if they have been unwell but you can also discuss other aspects of life.
If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly “Are you thinking about suicide”? Don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care and will actually decrease their risk because it shows someone is willing to talk about it. Make sure you ask directly and unambiguously.
04. Listen and stay
If they say ‘yes’, they are suicidal, listen to them and allow them to express how they are feeling. Don’t leave them alone. Stay with them or get someone else reliable to stay with them.
05. Make a safety plan
Everyone is different and require different things to feel supported. Feel free to make suggestions of ways to help, but not too many as it may be overwhelming.
06. Get help
If you don’t feel like you can call any of the above services, you can also talk to someone you trust, contact your GP, a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist or visit a hospital emergency department.