How to Know When a Friend Needs Mental Health Support

March 27, 2024  |  friends, mental health, relationships, well-being
friend needs support

Checking In: 

How to Know When a Friend Needs Mental Health Support

 It’s not always obvious when someone close to us is struggling. Reaching out and checking in with our friends — especially the “strong” ones — is an important way to support one another and recognize when extra help is needed.  

If you’re concerned about a friend’s mental well-being, here are some important signs to watch for: 


#1: Sudden Changes in Mood or Personality 

If a friend isn’t acting like themselves, it could be a sign that they need support. This might look like behaving impulsively and taking more risks than usual. Another change to watch for is if a friend starts isolating themselves and losing interest in the activities they love. 


#2: Changes in Daily Functioning

In addition to mood changes, you might notice signs your friend is struggling with everyday tasks and habits. Maybe they aren’t sleeping or eating well. Signs of a mental health concern could also be reflected in changes to someone’s appearance, such as hygiene, grooming, or how they dress. 


#3: Feeling Depressed or Anxious for Two Weeks 

Everyone feels low or stressed sometimes. But when feelings of loneliness, depression, or anxiety persist for two weeks or more, it’s a sign to seek help. Pay attention if your friend talks about feeling sad, worthless, or hopeless, or seems too anxious to relax. It’s worth asking, “How are you really doing?”


#4: Substance Dependence

It’s not uncommon for people to turn to substances to cope with mental health challenges. If you notice a sudden increase in a friend’s consumption or reliance on drugs or alcohol to get through the day, express your concern and offer help without judgment. 


#5: Online Warning Signs

In our digital age, it’s also important to pay attention to how our friends express themselves on social media. If a friend begins liking or sharing unusually sad, negative, or impulsive posts online, it could be a sign they are struggling. Trust your gut and check in if something feels “off.” 


Starting the Conversation: Find Help. Find Hope! 

You don’t have to be an expert to spark conversations about mental health. Simply checking in with friends and family can make a big difference! 


Try one of these conversation-starters:

·        “I know you’re going through a tough time. Do you want to talk about it?”

·        “You’ve seemed a little down lately. What’s going on?”

·        “We haven’t talked in a while! How are you doing?”

·        “I noticed you ______. Is everything okay?” 


If you’re not sure where to start, turn to the Mental Health Recovery Board serving Warren and Clinton Counties. We’re here to connect you or your loved one to helpful mental health resources and local support


Need help now? Call our Crisis Line — 877-695-6333 — for 24/7 support. Help is one call away!