If you’re worried about a friend or family member who seems sad, agitated or withdrawn, it might be time to talk to them about it.
Getting a friend to open up about emotional stuff can be difficult. However, if you’re really worried about them, it’s important to take action. There are things you can do to make the conversation run as smoothly as possible.
Pick the right location
Pick somewhere comfortable and private. Chances are this chat will be on the serious side, so you don’t want other people listening in.
Remove any distractions
If your friend is thinking about something else, they might not be in the right frame of mind to have an honest conversation. Try to get them to focus without making a big deal out of it. Making eye contact is a good way to get their attention.
Be a good listener
You can make a huge difference just by listening to your friend. It’s okay to feel nervous, but try and use relaxed body language. Not crossing your arms and legs, and facing your friend square on shows them you really care. Give them space to open up to you.
Don’t push it
If they’re not ready to talk, let them know you’re completely fine with that. If they really don’t want help, don’t give up on them, just be patient. If you feel they’re not comfortable in talking to you at all, suggest that they chat to a trusted family member.
If things are really bad or your friend has been considering self-harm, remain calm and stay with them. Encourage them to seek professional help and – if you’re worried about their safety – let someone know, even if they’ve asked you not to.
Some conversations are too big for family and friends to take on alone. If your friend has been going through a rough patch for a long time, it’s a good idea to have a chat with them about seeking professional help.
Take care of yourself
Helping someone may require boundaries. For example, you might decide that you’re not prepared to miss school because of them, or that you won’t take phone calls after midnight. Your mental health matters, too.
If you are in an emotional crisis and require urgent support, please contact:
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
If you are looking for more information and online support, please refer to the following online resources: