Mental Health Support: 6 Ways to Help a Friend In Need
Updated: Jul 30
We all want our loved ones to thrive in life. However, it’s inevitable that our closest friends will go through hard times occasionally. Here are some tips to show compassion to your friend during these moments, helping them prioritize their mental and behavioral health.
One of the best ways to help your friend through a painful time is to simply be there for them. Tell them directly that you are there to support them. This support will often involve nothing more than sitting and listening -- and that’s okay. Showing up for your friend without judgement or expectations will mean the world to them. They will find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.
It might be your first instinct to give your friend advice. After all, you want to help them cope and move forward. However, this is often counterproductive. Your friend may not want advice and might shut down the conversation as a result. Remember that your support is likely more valuable to them anyway. You can give them space to talk and process their thoughts when you simply listen. If they want your advice, they will ask.
Keep in mind that your friend might not actively reach out to you for help. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t want the support. Try to check in with your friend regularly during this difficult time. This might be a simple text that says you’re thinking of them and are available if they want to talk. Even if they want to be alone, the act of reaching out can help them feel loved.
Every friend is different, so the best way to help might not be obvious. So, don’t hesitate to ask. You can say something like, “I want to be there for you right now. What are some ways I can best support you?” Your friend will likely appreciate the considerate question. They might want to schedule regular outings to keep their mind occupied, or they could want a friend to drive them to their group counseling sessions. No matter their answer, be sure to act on it.
Many people want to retain a sense of normalcy when going through difficult life events. This gets their mind off of the problems in front of them and reminds them that life can still be enjoyable. You can play a critical role in creating fun distractions for your friend. Invite your friend on a shopping trip, organize movie nights, or even plan a weekend away. The opportunity to laugh and enjoy time with friends can make even the most difficult times more bearable.
Remember that while you’re supporting your friend, you can’t manage or treat their mental health struggles. Only a mental health professional can do that. So, you might want to encourage your friend to see a counselor. Group or individual therapy will give your friend the resources they need to cope, and you can play a supporting role. You might want to see a therapist as well, since you need to maintain your own resources before supporting someone else.
If you or a loved one are in need of support during a difficult time, the team at The Collective is available to help. These Denver mental health professionals offer psychological assessments, group counseling, individual therapy, medication management, and more for Colorado patients. Contact them today to learn more or schedule a free consultation.
Does my insurance cover a therapist at The Collective?
The Collective is partnered with several insurance providers to make our services more accessible to you. You can verify your insurance through our website before scheduling an appointment.