Listen without judgement
Recognise your friend’s struggle and invite him/ her to keep talking. Listen with and open mind. Use phrases such as ‘I’m here to listen if you’d like to tell me more about that', ‘I’m here if you want to talk about how you feel.'
While it is difficult to fully understand their plight, being present and offering a listening ear can go a long way to make your friend feel better. After listening, remember to commend your friend's courage.
Do not trivialise your friend's problem or make judgements, by saying ‘You should not worry about it. You are not the only person facing a problem like this'. This may make your friend feel belittled and even more anxious about his/ her problems.
Avoid phrases such as ‘calm down' or ‘cheer up'. Instead, use phrases such as ‘This must be so tough for you...'.
Don't rush into giving advice
Above all, your attitude and approach would be key to consoling the person. Focus on first communicating your care and willingness to be there for your friend to validate the person's feelings. The key is to show empathy and see things from his/ her perspective.
Then, contextualise advice as companionship and encouragement, like reminding a friend to not set unrealistic goals and to take it step by step.
Recommend further support
When your friend feels more calm and open, helping your friend make an appointment with a professional could be a good way for him/ her to address what is causing the distress in the long-term. Continue to encourage and reassure him/ her throughout the diagnosis and treatment.