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Tips for supporting a friend or sibling

If you're worried about a friend or your brother or sister, you may have noticed some changes in them.

They might be:

  • Being more anxious, irritable or angry than usual
  • Unable to concentrate or take decisions
  • Isolating themselves – not seeing their friends, dropping out of school or activities that they previously enjoyed
  • Appearing suspicious of friends and family
  • Being overly focused on certain things or being a perfectionist
  • Not eating or looking after themselves
  • Having disrupted sleep – which can mean not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much.

If you are concerned that someone is developing a mental health problem, there are things you can do to help them, including:

  • Encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling
  • Listening to them in a non-judgmental, non-critical way
  • Taking things at their pace
  • Reassuring them that you are taking what they say seriously
  • Offering to go with them to get further advice or information.

There's lots more advice on supporting a friend or sibling here on Rethink's website.

It can be hard to know what to say when friends come to you with problems or when you think they may be struggling.
Epic Friends is great for tips on how to look out for your friends or visit www.samaritans.org.uk or call 116 123.

See also Worried about a friend's post? Here's what to do