If you’ve got a friend or family member who isn’t their usual self, it’s hard to know what to do. If they’ve got the flu it’s pretty easy to look after them. But if it’s something like depression or anxiety it can feel like tricky territory. You’re probably wondering what you can do to help.

Research shows that people are most likely to turn to close friends or family for support. So you could be that person for your friend. And you don’t have to act differently. Just be yourself. That’s really important - it’s why you’re mates in the first place. Sometimes just talking through things can help your friend discover new ways of dealing with what’s going on for them.

Often when people are feeling bad they don’t want to get out and do anything. So encouraging them to do something with you, even if it's just a walk or catching a movie, is a great support

Other things you can to do include:

  • Giving support no matter what
  • Valuing trust
  • Not judging
  • Being kind and respectful
  • Being loyal
  • Telling the truth, even when it’s hard
  • Laughing together
  • Not giving up when things get tough
  • Listening. Listening. Listening.

If you are worried about a friend, it’s important to encourage them to seek support, such as their school counsellor, GP or if they’re not comfortable talking face-to-face there are online and email counselling services. The Check-in app can help you plan how to approach a friend in need while also helping you look after your own mental health. If your mate doesn’t want your help, that’s ok too. Just let them know you’re there if they need you.

If you want to chat with other people who are struggling with this same thing, check out the forum.