Ways to help a friend with depression or anxiety

Learn about what your friend is going through

Find out more about depression, anxiety or anything else your friend is going through. This will help you better understand what is happening and how they feel.

Be open and welcoming, and listen

You could start the conversation by asking questions such as: ‘It seems like things have been hard for you lately. What’s on your mind?’ and ‘What can I do to help?’.
When talking about sensitive issues, try to choose a time and place when you're both comfortable, relaxed and there's some privacy. Don't push them if they don't want to talk.

Take their feelings seriously

Acknowledge that what's happening must be difficult to handle. Try to be caring, compassionate and curious, and let them know that they matter to you and you are taking them seriously. If you are not sure how to help them, offer them some options and let them choose what suits them best.

Help them to find support

Your friend might not be aware of what professional support options are available, or they may be unsure of how to get support. Even if they know about support options, it can be daunting to see a health professional.
You can offer support through:
1. Encouraging them to speak to a health professional or an adult they trust
2. Accompany them to their appointment
3. Recommend hotlines or online chat-based helplines
4. Talking to a trusted adult

Supporting them and responding to emergencies

If they say something like ‘I’m going to cancel my appointment today’, encourage them to follow through with the appointment.
If you think your friend may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else, seek help from a trusted adult or emergency mental health service immediately.

Celebrate their successes

When your friend takes a step towards confronting their fears or improving their wellbeing, congratulate them and do something fun together. Help them feel proud of themselves.

Take care of yourself

By taking care of yourself, you’ll be in a better place mentally and physically, and this allows you to better support the people around you.
Do the following:
1. Monitor your mood
2. Don't give up the things you enjoy
3. Make time to relax
4. Set boundaries
5. Ask for support

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