Relationships & Family

How To Tell If A Friend Needs Support

You don’t need to be a therapist or counselor to have a big, positive impact on friends and family who need help. A key part of mental health is a connection with others, and you have the power to help the people you care about in many different ways. 

Be Aware of the Signs:

First, it's important to know if a friend is struggling. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  • Distancing – Your friend might feel a bit more distant and might not be reaching out or responding like they usually do.  
  • Emotional changes – Your friend might appear more moody, upset, or easily frustrated by things that usually wouldn’t bother them. 
  • Personality Changes – Your friend might have suddenly changed something like their looks, how outgoing they are, or what kinds of activities they get involved with. 
  • Physical Changes – Your friend might look physically different – losing or gaining weight or other changes that might mean they aren’t looking after themselves like they usually do. 

Your friend or family member might feel confused, sad, or alone, and that nobody is there for them. Just knowing you are there and wanting to help can make a big difference. This can help them feel less alone, more connected to you and others they care about, and more hopeful of finding help. 

Your Own Learning

You have the power to play a part in getting your loved one the support they need. You might have strong feelings about realizing your friend or family member is struggling, or that you didn’t see it sooner. That’s okay. 

Be kind with yourself. You are learning. The fact you are near the end of this article means you are a caring person and want to learn how to help. That’s a solid first step. It’s the best first step you can take. You are learning new skills that can help you spot these things in others more quickly.

If you do spot something and are worried about your loved one, there is a free, professional resource available to help you know what to do next:

9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress , as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

For immediate support, visit the Ally Network Crisis Support Directory.