Author: Diana Prince
As young people, we all struggle with aspects of our lives, from mental health to school to friendships. However, sometimes the most stressful of these things can be the things that our friends or loved ones are struggling with.
Often when a friend is struggling with mental health issues we can feel so powerless. Maybe their parents are hurting them or refusing to help; maybe they won’t even listen to you. It’s very easy to get super overwhelmed because you feel responsible for their pain.
The first thing to remember is that none of it is your responsibility. Neither their pain nor their safety and healing is something that you are responsible for, and that is extremely important to remember. Of course, as their friend, you want to help them and it’s admirable that you do. However, you should never feel as though they are hurting because you are a bad friend, or that if they aren’t getting better it’s because of you.
You should never feel as though they are hurting because you are a bad friend, or that if they aren’t getting better it’s because of you.
Following that, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. Helping a friend through this kind of situation can be extremely taxing. Be it late nights or sacrificing other friendships or just the emotional burden, it is definitely a lot to take on. It’s really easy in those times to forget about yourself and just suffer for the sake of your friend. Remember, though, that the best thing you can do for your friend is to be healthy yourself. You will always be a better support for them when you are healthy and stable.
For your sake as well as your friend’s, keep yourself healthy.
If necessary, get an adult involved. I know that the privacy of your friend is important, and often they directly ask you to keep their situation a secret. However, if you talk to them and explain to them that an adult might help, there’s a good chance they’ll listen.
Also, remember that the adult doesn’t have to be their parents. It can be a school counsellor or teacher, it can be your parent, it can be a volunteer at Distress Centre Calgary, and there are many more options out there. Even if your friend insists on keeping it between you two, sometimes their safety is more important. If you think that their life or physical safety is at risk, you should make sure you get some help, even if they don’t want you to.
You can also contact ConnecTeen to receive peer support and get help and guidance. You can contact ConnecTeen yourself and you can also let them know about ConnecTeen and encourage them to contact us anytime they need to talk to someone.
If you think that their life or physical safety is at risk, you should make sure you get some help, even if they don’t want you to.
Taking care of a friend who is suffering can be one of the biggest burdens in a person’s life. It weighs down on you and you can feel constantly stressed and scared. However, if you can keep yourself healthy and safe, and make sure your friend has access to the help they need, you can truly make a meaningful difference in their life and yours.