Module 4.6 Looking after your friends

MindMatters in Minutes. Looking after your friends.

What would you do if a friend was having some trouble? Would you help them?

It probably depends on what the trouble is. If your friend was locked out of their house, you might let them come around and stay at your place until their parents got home.

But if they were being attacked by a couple of bears, you might not help them yourself, but you’d go and get an adult with some sort of bear-fighting gear and get them to sort it out.

It’s the same deal if a friend is having trouble with their mental health: sometimes it’s easy to help them yourself, other times it’s good to get an adult involved. Either way, if a friend of yours is struggling, you can help.

And your help doesn’t have to be big or dramatic.

Sometimes even the smallest actions have big impacts.

One simple thing you can do to help your friends is just pay attention to them. You don’t have to study them all the time, but if you notice changes in the way they feel or what they do, then you might want to check in with them.

Ask them what’s going on.

Let them talk, and don’t try to crowd them out with your own thoughts and opinions. Sometimes all a friend really needs is to feel like someone cares about them and their feelings.

If you really feel uncomfortable about your friend’s state of mind, then it could be important that you talk to an adult. At school you might want to talk to a teacher you trust, or to someone like a guidance counsellor or wellbeing officer.

Outside of school there are people like doctors and counsellors, as well as free services where you can talk on the phone, chat online, or visit in person. You’ll find there are lots of people who would be happy to help.

Your job is not to rescue friends – just to be their friend and show them that you care. They won’t be upset if you ask them if they are ok – they will thank you for it.

So take a look around. How are your friends going right now? Do you know? Can you ask? And if you were worried about someone, who do you think you could talk to about it?