What to say if your friend is suffering from poor mental health
When a friend is suffering from poor mental health, it can be difficult to know what to say for fear of saying the ‘wrong’ thing.
While it can be really difficult when someone you care about is experiencing problems, sometimes saying something is better than nothing at all to show your support and provide some comfort.
“ARE YOU OKAY?”
Simple but effective. It may be that no one has asked that simple question for a while and if you follow this up with “is there anything I can do to help?”, they may feel safe enough to begin the conversation.
“LET’S HAVE A NIGHT IN”
By not suggesting that they need to get out more, it will allow them to approach their mental health in a step-by-step way. Instead, suggest staying in with them and do something that they will enjoy. It’s also a good opportunity to start a conversation and be there to listen whilst they share their feelings.
“CAN I COOK YOU DINNER TONIGHT?”
Little things go a long way. A simple gesture such as making them dinner will mean a lot to them and reassure them that you are looking out for their wellbeing.
“TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOU’RE FEELING”
Be empathetic but not patronising. They don’t want to feel like they’re in a therapy session but by encouraging communication, they’ll hopefully feel like you’re a trustworthy ear.
“CALL ME IF YOU NEED A CHAT, DAY OR NIGHT”
Finish your chat with them by reasserting the fact that you are there to chat whenever they need to. Then, make sure that you are actually available to talk when they do reach out. It will take them a lot of courage to pick up the phone and say that they’re struggling.
“YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS”
Instead of saying that “there is always someone who is worse off” which will make them feel inferior, try comforting them by saying that you will get through this together. A strong support network is key.
Chloe Ward is Technician at Smart TMS, the UK’s leading mental health clinic specialising in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.