I have lots of friends telling me that they are depressed and/or are cutting. Aside from giving them the ConnecTeen numbers, how can I help them?

It’s honestly really great that you’re able to support your friends in that way by giving them our number. Not everyone may know about our services or feel comfortable speaking to us right off the hop, so your friends are really lucky to have such a caring, empathetic friend like you. šŸ˜Š

Now, when it comes to helping those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and/or self-harm, it’s important to first remember that you may be taking on a huge burden by trying to be there to help them. By all means, good friends should be there for each other, but just remember helping people struggling with mental health is not something anyone do completely without the proper training. That’s why professionals in the field have to go to school for so long just to be able to do it!

After realizing that, though, there are some things you can still do for your friends to make sure they feel supported when they’re in such tough times. One of the most important things is to just talk with them. Discuss with your friends what’s been going on in their life, how they’ve been feeling as a result, etc. When you’re in tough times, just telling someone else about it and checking in with them every so often can be a great help on its own. It helps you realize that people really care for your health and want to see you get better. When you talk with your friends, you don’t have to have all the solutions or fix their problems right away, because life is just too complex for everything to be that easy to “fix”. Just starting with having a healthy and caring conversation can go a long way and let your friends help themselves at the pace they’re comfortable with.

You mentioned your concerns with cutting. Although self-harm isn’t a favorable way of coping with stress/depression, for some people, it’s all that they feel will work to get them through, moment by moment. Of course, we all want those people to be able to cope without their physical safety at expense, but if that’s all that works, then all you and your friends can do is make sure that they self-harm in the safest ways possible until they can begin to move away from coping in that way. This is something your friends and ConnecTeen volunteers can discuss privately because of how everyone’s situation is different.

With everything we’ve discussed, though, just remember, again, that it’s not easy to have to help the people you love out of situations that you hate to see them in. The fact that you’re still able to be there for them, though, is huge.

I hope things turn out well for you and your friends. If you have any other questions, just ask or contact us directly by text at 587 333 2724 or by call at 403 264 8336.

Take care!