When someone you care about isn’t acting the way they normally do, it’s hard to know what to say. You may want to help them, but perhaps you don’t know how. Here’s some advice on how to start these conversations and what to look for. Also, don’t forget that everyone’s different and what may work for one person may not be helpful for another.
Be yourself. Be a good listener. Be supportive.
Being there for someone
- Let the person know if you've noticed a change in their behaviour.
- Encourage them to talk about what’s going on (how they feel, what they’re thinking, what they’re doing differently).
- Let them know that you're there to listen without being judgmental.
- Suggest they see a doctor or health professional and/or help them to make an appointment. You could offer to go with them.
- Help the person to find information about anxiety and depression from a website or library.
- Be the friend you’ve always been. Hang out together. Just being there can really help.
- Reassure them they are not alone and there is hope that things can get better.
- Put pressure on the person by telling them to 'snap out of it' or 'get their act together'.
- Stay away or avoid or ignore them.
- Tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more.
- Feel you need to talk about how they’re feeling all the time.
- Pressure them to party more or wipe out how they're feeling with drugs and alcohol.
Remember, they may not want to talk about it yet, but checking in lets them know you care and are willing to have the conversation when they’re ready.