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Oftentimes, it can be a struggle to broach difficult subjects with our friends. However, now more than ever, discussing mental health is incredibly important, especially for teens. In 2021, over 29% of teens struggled with mental health, with LGBTQIA+ teens (52%) and girls (41%) being two of the groups most affected. As such, being there for your friends is absolutely necessary, and it may be far more significant than you could imagine.

If you suspect a friend is having a tough time, approaching them regarding a conversation about it may be difficult. Put simply, people may feel embarrassed or ashamed of their struggles, or may not know how to talk about their emotions. Therefore, being the one to start the conversation is often a great way to offer support. You can do that by simply asking your friend to get together, either in person or through call or video chat. If the meeting is in person, make sure it is in a place that can offer some level of privacy. If not, then it could possibly not be a safe space for your friend to confide in you.

When talking, make sure that you are coming strictly from a supportive position, and have your full attention directed toward your friend. This will help them feel far more comfortable rather than if you were distracted or came off as apathetic. There also must be some level of specifics about your concern with your friend. That way, by sharing specific occurrences you have concern over, whether valid or not, your friend can have some tangible examples to where they can change or have a different outlook. Throughout this entire process, consistently remind them that you’re there for them. This may seem simple, but it can go a long way. 

Oftentimes, when dealing with negative emotions, people can self-isolate and think that no one understands them. This could potentially lead to further negative thoughts. As such, being there for a friend does not mean simply being there for one call, but being there whenever your friend needs you. Following up on your words with tangible actions is incredibly important. Regular check-ins are a super helpful way to always stay connected and help your friend maintain a support system. It can help reinforce that they’re not alone, and make sure that they feel supported. You want your friend to feel less alone, and more loved and cared for. Teens’ mental health is certainly an issue, and we all must be there for anyone who is experiencing poor mental health. Finally, if they’re experiencing serious negative thoughts or any level of mental distress, you can advise them to call 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, or call them yourself for your friend. What you say may make an impact you could never imagine. That’s why it is so important to know what to say. 

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is an incredible resource one can use when struggling with mental health or having any suicidal ideation. Additionally, the Jed Foundation helps promote mental health and provides an online resource center, including a public forum to discuss any topics related to mental health, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is another helpful hub for mental health resources. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute of Mental Health, and more are some other resources you or your friend can use. 


Comments

2
  • Allyson Barr

    This has the potential to trigger additional negative thoughts. Therefore, supporting a friend goes beyond a single phone call; it run 3 entails being available whenever your friend requires your presence.

    Posted on

  • yegoga

    yegoga yegoga

    Reply Author

    Letting your friend know you’re there for them, whether in person or virtually, creates a safe space for open dialogue about mental health.

    Posted on