People don’t only need friends to discuss their problems with, they also need friends to have fun with.
Don’t give up on the friendship!
- Young people who have dealt with mental health and substance use challenges speak of the friends who stuck with them and those who disappeared.
- Friends that stick around can play an important role in helping someone recover and move past their mental health or substance use challenge.
- During the early stage of getting help, your friend may be spending a lot of time working on their mental health challenges and may be making new friends who are also dealing with similar things.
- It may seem like you’re losing a friend. Don’t worry, over time the friendship will likely go back to what it was and may be even stronger.
- Let your friend know that you care, and that you haven’t forgotten about them, even if they repeatedly try to push you away. A simple text, online message, or note can be a great way to keep connected without your friend feeling like they need to respond if they are not ready.
- Your friend is still the same person so it’s important to relate to them as you always have as this may help them to get well.
Some things you can do:
- Let your friend know you’ll be there for them no matter what.
- Stay in contact. Call them just to call them. Text them occasionally just to say you are thinking about them.
- Ask your friend from time to time how it’s going. Unless they want to talk, don’t make a big deal out of it.
- If your friend seems to be getting worse, ask if they are okay or if there’s something you can do. If you’re really concerned, speak to a trusted adult.
- Do small things to cheer them up for the moment. For example, send a funny video, photo or story.
- Make them feel like they are needed. Talk to them when you are upset about something or when you want to vent. Trust them with things that you wouldn’t tell just anyone else.
- Hang out with them. Invite them to go out and do activities you’ve done together in the past.
- People dealing with mental health and substance use challenges are often overly critical of themselves and may think others feel the same way. Try not to be critical of them. Instead, find times when you can acknowledge their courage and successes.
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