Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to your friend about mental wellbeing. You might fear that if you bring up your worries he or she will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive. Remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. Often, the simple act of talking to someone face to face can be an enormous help to someone going through tough times. Encourage the person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgement.
Don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. People with mental wellbeing problems tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
Ways to start a conversation:
- “I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”
- “Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”
- “I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.”
Questions you can ask:
- “When did you begin feeling like this?”
- “Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?”
- “How can I best support you right now?”
- “Have you thought about getting help?”
Source: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance