How to Help a Struggling Friend

By Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”- Helen Keller

Myth: Asking a friend if they are feeling depressed, angry, or suicidal will make them more at risk of harming themselves or others. Fact: Asking tough questions show you care which in turn opens up the dialogue for getting that person the help they need.

  • Know the warning signs of risk of suicide or depression so you can recognize them in yourself, a friend, coworker, or family member Know the 5 Signs
  1. Personality Change
  2. Agitation
  3. Withdrawn
  4. Poor Self-Care
  5. Hopeless
  • Be a listening ear. Check in on someone you care about and ask how he or she is doing. You don’t have to be an expert or trained professional to show someone you care.
  • Know the number to call for hotlines, local police, or dial 911 in an emergency. You can never be too cautious when it comes to your life or the life of someone else.
  • Share resources with friends and family. The more open you are about discussing difficult thoughts, feelings, and situations, the less stigma attached to asking for help.
  • Post positive messages on social media that focus on solution and self-care. Show others that self-love and taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as physical health.

Selected resources

BRAVE Crisis Text Line: text BRAVE to 741741

Know the Five Signs:

Facebook BRAVE Crisis Text Line

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)

  • If you or a friend is struggling, start by sharing those feelings with someone trustworthy. You can also text BRAVE to 741741 which is a free, 24/7, confidential support hotline with trained counselors on the other end.
  • If you want to get someone directly on the phone, call 800-273-TALK (8255) where you can speak to a trained counselor ready to listen to you or someone else.
  • You can reach out to Facebook BRAVE Crisis Text Line by hitting “Send Message” on their Facebook page.
  • It is a good idea to program any of the helpline numbers on your phone so that you have on hand in a crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is also a great resource.

Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC is an educator, published researcher, and social media marketing consultant for therapists. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH), and Suicide Prevention Instructor (QPR) under the National Board for Certified Counselors.

How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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