Look Out for Others
Looking out for those around us can be daunting, and often we don’t know where to begin. You may have recognised that something isn’t right with your friend, and they haven’t been acting like themselves lately.
Opening up a conversation with someone can help them feel supported, heard, and validated. Importantly, it can make them feel less alone, and that their problems matter to someone. Raising the conversation may seem overwhelming, here are some tips for having a conversation about their mental health:
- Consider where they would feel the most comfortable to be approached about it: try to pick a time and place where you are unlikely to be interrupted, and they would feel comfortable opening up to you
- It comes naturally to a lot of us to say “I’m fine”, even when we’re not. Your friend may not want to admit how they are feeling right away, or tell you “it’s nothing” or “I’m just stressed about other things” so they aren’t a burden on you
- By letting them know that you are here if they do decide to discuss it with you, you are creating a safe space for them to reach out when they are ready
- You can also reach out to another trusted friend or family member of the person, and ask them to check in with them if you feel they may have more success
- It is important to remember that it’s not your job to be a mental health professional. Just being there to listen to someone who is going through a tough time can make a world of difference to them. You don’t have to have all the answers
The Check-In App by Beyond Blue is free and provides building blocks for how to approach your friend to get support. It helps plan a conversation, including where it could take place and what you might say. It also provides a range of online and phone services to refer a friend to and you can check out how to how to access a mental health professional here to help refer your friend or family member.