Taking Care of Friends
Friends Who are Dealing with a Problem
Good friends are there to help their friends out when they have problems. These problems may include troubles at school, home, or with other friends. You can be really helpful by being there to listen. It is also good to have friends that can help you when you're having a hard time. It's important to know when a friend needs more help than you can give. Below are some different things you can help a friend with. There are also ways to get more help when needed.
Friends and Mental Illness
Many of our friends will have times when they may have a mental illness. This is as common as having friends who have any sickness. Around a quarter of all people have a mental health issue at any time. Just because a friend has a mental illness doesn't mean we have to tell someone. Sometimes, we can just listen and it's really helpful. But there are other times when a friend may need more help. Look at the chart to learn when to help your friend or when to ask an adult for help.
|Times to just listen
|Times to get help from a teacher, parent, or trusted adult
|A friend is sad or in a bad mood.
|A friend is so sad or upset that they say they want to hurt themselves or try suicide.
|A friend broke up with their boyfriend/girlfriend.
|A friend's boyfriend or girlfriend are saying they will hurt them.
|A friend is worried about problems.
|A friend has problems with the police or might be in big trouble.
|A friend is talking about someone doing drugs.
|A friend has been abusing drugs or has an addiction.
|A friend is worried about how they look.
|A friend is so worried about how they look that they aren't eating, or they are throwing up.
Friends and Suicide
Suicide is a scary topic that friends may ask about. Suicide is a common cause of death for young people. It can be really scary when someone mentions it. What should I do when a friend talks about suicide? Sometimes a friend wants to talk about suicide because they have heard about it on TV or from others. Sometimes a friend wants to talk about suicide because they are thinking about hurting themselves.
You should always believe someone who says they are thinking about suicide. If a friend says they want to hurt themselves or try suicide: Talk to a trusted adult immediately! If no trusted adults are around, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You can also call 911 for help.
Friends who Have Been Hurt or Abused
Friends might ask for help because someone has hurt them. When someone hurts a young person, it is often called abuse. About 1 out of 5 young people are abused before they turn 18 (Invisible Children, 2017). Abuse can be someone getting hit, kicked, or touched in the wrong way. It can also be more. If you are unsure if something is abuse, ask an adult you trust. Many young people who are hurt by someone tell someone they trust.
What should you do if a friend tells you that someone has hurt them? Do not go and talk to the person who is abusing them. They could hurt you too. Abuse is a bigger problem than most friends can handle on their own. It is best to ask for help. The easiest ways are to tell a teacher, trusted adult, or call 911. You can also call the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
Helping a Friend Deal with Bullying
Bullying is terrible. Bullying makes people feel horrible. When people are bullied, they have problems at home and school. Bullying causes lots of stress. It can also physically hurt. Bullying is often done with words or online. What are websites that you think someone could be bullied on? What are some types of bullying you can think of?
What should you do if someone is bullying someone? It is best to remain safe yourself. Sometimes you can ask or tell the bully to stop. Be careful, this can also lead to them bullying you. If you don't think they will listen, get some help. Take pictures of the bullying if it's done online. School counselors are great people to help stop bullying.
If you need help stopping bullying, you can also call this hotline: 855-201-2121
Helping a Friend Talk to a Counselor
Sometimes a friend has one of these problems and needs help talking to someone. If this happens, you can be a big help. It can be scary for a young person with a problem to talk to a counselor. It can help to offer to take them to the counselor. Before you do this, tell the counselor at school that you have a friend you want to introduce. They may ask some questions. They are usually understanding and helpful! If not, try a teacher, social worker, or other trusted adult. Most of what a kid tells a counselor is kept private. It is okay to ask them beforehand if you can talk about a topic privately. They will tell you beforehand if they have to tell someone. To learn more about finding a counselor click here