Understanding friendship

How friends can help

Friends can help you with your mental health in lots of different ways. They might check in with how you are feeling, or simply make you laugh with the best TikToks. They might also help you by:
1. Talking things through
2. Give practical support
3. Taking your mind off things
4. Notice changes in your mood

Advice from young people like you

‘My friends constantly made sure that however different I felt, they would treat me the same, which they did, mental illness or not.'
‘Having friends just listening is really helpful a lot of the time, just having someone to talk about things with.'
‘They’ve tried to cheer me up by sending me links to funny memes. Sometimes we just sit and have coffee together, they don’t always need to say anything, it’s just good to have some company.'

If you're finding it tough to open up to a friend

Talking to a friend about your mental health is one of the first steps to feeling better. But sometimes, this can feel quite scary. Here are some tips that can help:
1. Pick a good time when you won’t get interrupted and find a quiet space to chat
2. Explain how you are feeling
3. Be clear about what you want shared. Let your friend know that you are not ready to share with others

If you are struggling with a friendship

Throughout our lives, we might struggle with our friendships. We might argue with friends, no longer speak to friends we were once close to, or we might lose some friendships. By talking things through and explaining how you both feel, you can both learn to better understand how you can support each other. Overcoming these tough times together can sometimes help make your friendship stronger.

Coping with a loss of a friendship

In some situations, however, your friendship might come to an end. You may have tried to work through an argument and it hasn’t worked out, or they may have not been very nice to you.
Friendships can come to a natural end too. Sometimes people grow apart and that’s okay. When friendships come to an end, it can be really tough to move on - but things can get better over time.

How do I know if a friendship is unhealthy?

This can be things like:
1. Your friends pressuring you to do something you feel uncomfortable with
2. When jokes become hurtful
3. You are constantly arguing
4. They make you feel guilty
5. They bully you
6. The friendship feels one-sided
7. They isolate you from a group on purpose

If you're finding a friendship difficult

If you’re finding a friendship difficult, talk to that friend about how they have been treating you. You might be nervous about talking to them, or worried about how they will react. It can make you feel down or anxious, or might lower your self-esteem and how you feel around other people. If you feel like this, it’s important that you get help. Even when you disagree with friends, you still deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

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