Here are some things you can do for someone you care about who is struggling.
Students and representatives from Bristol Univers
ity have raised concerns about the university's mental health and provision. Although student activists are pushing for better support, there is still something we can do to help our friends in need.
My job as the welfare and rights officer for Cambridge University Students Unions is a large part of my job. I train students on peer support and mental health. Friends are also able to assist. Friends know each other better than service providers. It is easier to be open to us, which can serve as a bridge to more formal support.
Keep this in mind as you look for signs that your friends might be having difficulties.
1. Lifestyle changes
In times of poor mental health, daily routines may change. You might notice a shift in your eating or sleeping habits during a period of poor mental health.
2. Modifications in mood
You might see a friend who is down on themselves or has a negative outlook. You might hear them say things that could indicate low self-worth, stress, or worry.
3. Self-harming or destructive behavior
Self-harm is often a negative term that can be confused with self-harm. This could include engaging in risky behaviors like dangerous drinking and drug use.
4. Socializing patterns are changing
A friend might withdraw to their room or skip out on social events. Some people might become very busy with social events if they are experiencing difficulties.
Mental health issues go beyond anxiety and depression. Signs that someone is having trouble might not be listed here. Every person is unique. Some friends might be more obvious than others that they are struggling. It's a good idea to check in on friends and ask how they are doing.
There are many practical and emotional things you can do for your friend if they are struggling with their mental health.
Although friends may be reluctant to ask for their needs met, it's possible to start a dialog with them and give them the opportunity to share how they can help. It's much easier to support them than to worry about doing the wrong thing.
6. Remind them that you are there
Even if they ask, sometimes friends don't know what they need. Sometimes friends might need to talk to someone but aren't confident enough to start a conversation. Reminding them that you are there for them in these situations can be comforting.
7. Follow the lead
Sometimes it can be difficult to reach out, so friends may drop smaller tips instead. These conversational tips-offs are useful. As a welfare officer, I have found that students often state they are tired or stressed rather than opening up about their deeper problems.
Follow the example of someone who is indicating that they are struggling. You can ask them: "You said last week that you felt really down." What are you doing right now?
8. Send an invitation
You may notice that a friend is less socializing, but this does not necessarily mean they aren't interested in going to events or would appreciate being asked. When you are going out, taking a trip to dinner, or hanging out with friends, don't hesitate to extend "no pressure" invitations.
9. Practical support
Practical assistance is also helpful for friends going through difficult times. Like assistance with American history homework help in our life we also need assistance. While emotional support can be important, it's not the only thing that matters. It can make a big difference to offer to help them with their weekly shopping or to knock on their doors on the way to lectures.
There are limitations to what support we can provide as students, not professionals. If your friend isn't sure how to access services, it might be helpful to research them and offer to help. This could be as simple as going to the doctor's office with your friend or making a phone call to them.
10. Look after yourself
It's important to take care of yourself when you are supporting others. You must take care of yourself by setting boundaries and limiting the amount you can offer. Don't feel like you have to shoulder all the responsibility.