Supporting your friends when the going gets tough

Do you need some guidance on supporting a friend through a tough time?

Then read on for three scenarios, and how you can be the best friend possible.

Supporting a friendIMAGE SOURCE

If your friend… is suffering from a mental health problem

Mental health is a very large umbrella term, and it incorporates all sorts of different things. Think of it as an equivalent term to cancer. There are many different types of cancers, and each affects the mind, body and soul different. Well, so do the different types of mental illness. Just because you can’t see a lump or a scar, it doesn’t mean they are not there. People suffering from mental illnesses worry greatly about how they will be perceived by others. They also worry that they will be judged, or thought badly of. This is why one of the best things you can do in this scenario is to make it clear that you think no less of them. This goes for whether or not you spots signs and symptoms and bring it up with them, or if they come to you. Whichever, make sure you are available for them 24/7 while they work their way through it. They may need a hug or a cry, but they may just want to go for a coffee. Let them know you’re available to support them however they want, whenever it is they want it.

If your friend… is drinking too much

It can be tricky to tell the difference between enjoying a drink, binge-drinking, and impending alcoholism. While a touchy and delicate subject, it is part of your responsibility to watch out for these things. After all, too much alcohol can cause things from blood poisoning to blackouts to addiction. Similarly, if your friend comes to you have spotted a problem themselves, they will need your help and support more than ever to quit.

When it comes to how to stop drinking alcohol, different things work for different people. As well as providing your friend with solutions, you must reassure them that it’s okay if it doesn’t work straight away. It may take a period of trial and error until they find a technique or method that helps them.

If your friend… is struggling in their relationship

If your friend is having trouble with their relationship or love life, there is probably not much you can do to help. After all, a relationship is between two people, not two people and a best friend. With this in mind, the most valuable thing you can do for your friend is to listen to them. Give advice if you feel like you have something valuable to offer, and if they seem receptive. Do remember, though, when listening to them and giving advice, to be careful. Even if they are ranting and raving about their partner, keep an eye on what you say. If they make up with them, they will probably forget what they said to you. However, they might not forget what you said. Agree with their sentiments if you wish, but don’t let your own rant take over. It could make for some awkward dinner parties further down the line otherwise.

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About the Author

A registered nurse, “Ching” – as many fondly call Rachelle Grace – believes that a holistic approach to health and wellness is what everyone should aim for. She is, therefore, always on the lookout for what could help achieve this. And yes, she shares them openly, believing “knowledge about what works won’t be much use if it’s not known by as many as possible”.

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