Do you have a friend who just doesn’t seem to be their usual self? Something about them has changed, and you’ re wondering what’s going on?
Friends can be the first ones to notice changes in a friend. It may be a change in mood, certain behaviours, or in activities they used to enjoy. You may notice that your friend seems to be tired all the time or is easily annoyed. Maybe they've stopped hanging out and are spending more time alone. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what’s different about them, but you just have a sense that something’s wrong.
Maybe they’ve told you that they’re having struggles.
Many young people turn to their friends for help if they’re having a problem. Knowing how to support someone is an important part of being a friend.
How Can I Help?
Being a friend means being there when things are great and when they’re not so great. Supporting a friend shows you care.
Knowing how to support a friend is a great skill, one that you’ll use throughout your life. Think about how your family or your friends have supported you through tough times or how you've been there for someone else in the past.
What are the Signs?
In this section, you will find some tips and suggestions for how to support a friend:
- early on when you first start to notice changes that concern you
- as they are overcoming their mental health struggles and learning how to manage
- to maintain and strengthen their mental wellness (and yours as well!)
Signs a friend may need your support
All of us have had strong feelings, like being stressed out, losing something important to us, having something really disappointing happen, or feeling anxious. Although not pleasant, most of the time these feelings go away and we get back to our usual selves.
All of us also have probably had a friend that seemed to be struggling. It can be hard to know if a friend is just dealing with the everyday concerns of life or if it's something more serious.
People having mental health concerns may show changes in the way they think, feel or behave.
Signs a friend may need some support:
- They don’t seem to enjoy activities as much anymore.
- They seem distracted or are having trouble staying focused.
- They are unusually worried about things that don’t seem to be a big deal to you or others.
- Their eating habits have changed—they avoid hanging out at lunchtime or make excuses as to why they’re not eating.
- They’re always tired or complain they aren’t sleeping well.
- They’re missing more and more time from school or work.
- They’re drinking more alcohol or using other drugs more.
- They’re sad much of the time and find it hard to see any positives in their life.
- They are spending more time alone—they don’t want to hang out with friends or do any of their usual activities.
If you’ve noticed changes in a friend that have been going on for awhile or seem to be getting worse, it’s time to do something.