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How to get help for a Friend

Are you concerned about a friend or wonder if they need help?

There are a few steps you can take – talking to your friend, telling someone else or going straight to someone you trust if a few warning signs appear.

7 Hacks To Help A Friend posterPrint Version (281KB)

Helping a Friend

Ask a parent, trusted family member or a counsellor for help with the situation. Get their ideas on how to approach your friend.

If you think you can talk to your friend, figure out what you want to say. How will you say it? Prepare ahead for the talk you want to have. It will make it easier if you have some ideas ahead of time.

Find a private, comfortable place where you can talk together.

It’s a good idea to start by letting your friend know you care about them.

You can tell your friend you are concerned and be prepared to give some reasons why. Try to have some examples of things that concern you. Has their behaviour changed? Are they trying out Teen behaviours that are risky? Have some examples ready before you start.

Avoid accusing or blaming statements. Simple statements often work best.

Allow your friend time to think and reply.

Tell them you care about what is going on, and you will help them find more help if needed.

Making a decision

If your friend is not opening up to you and isn’t open to seeking help from someone, you have a decision to make. Are you concerned enough that you need to tell someone else about it? If so – who?

  • Is there someone else who can help you with this problem – your own parent or family member? A trusted counsellor or teacher? Sometimes we need another opinion to know what to do.
  • Would your parent, family member, counsellor or teacher go with you to talk to your friend?
  • Does your friend have a parent or family member you would feel comfortable talking to?
  • Would it help to put your concern in writing for them to read?

Even if you think the problem is a secret, you may need to share it with someone who can help. Most problems don’t go away by themselves and secrets have a way of coming out.

You should seek help with your friend if they report the following:

  • Thoughts of suicide, hurting others or self-harming behaviours. Seek emergency help immediately.
  • Worrying feelings as a constant part of their everyday
  • Trouble sleeping a lot of the time
  • Frequent melt downs, temper tantrums or are acting out aggressively to others
  • Having more trouble with feelings than before