You’ve got a friend in us

Amid the numerous lockdowns and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, friendships have never been more important. Meaningful friendships help us feel less alone and supported in times of need. Here, we discuss the value of friendships and how to reach out to someone who might be struggling.

If you search the NHS for tips on improving your mental health and wellbeing, number one on the list is connecting with other people.

Various suggestions listed under this point include taking time out of each day to be with friends or family as well as having lunch with a colleague.

Forming friendships means that we gain the opportunity to share experiences as well as the mutual benefit of providing emotional support to one another.

But what do you do if you think you friend is struggling with their own mental health and wellbeing?

Reaching out

It can be worrying when you think your friend is going through a tough time. You might see that they are distant from you and spending more time on their own. They could even be doing out of character things such as using drugs or drinking heavily.

Finding the words to ask your friends about how they’re feeling can be difficult, but one way or another they’re sure to appreciate you reaching out to them.

You could try phrases such as “we haven’t talked in a while, what’s new with you?” or simply “I’m here for you if you want to talk”.

Some friends may be reluctant to open up at first, so it’s important to remain patient and let them talk to you in their own time.

If you’re worried about their safety, call 111 or 999 if it’s an emergency.

Looking after yourself

It’s always good to support a friend, but it’s also crucial that you look after yourself at the same time. You should try not to take on too much and talk about your own feelings with someone you trust as well.

If you don’t have someone you can trust, there are lots of people you can talk to. The Samaritans are open 24/7 on 116 123 if you need to talk about anything that’s upsetting you. If you’re under 25, there’s also The Mix text message service that’s open Sunday – Friday from 2pm – 11pm.

At the Charlie Watkins Foundation, we strive to raise funding for vital projects to help young people across the UK who are facing serious mental health challenges.

With your help, we can continue our vital work and give support to young people who need our help the most. If you would like to help us to continue to make a difference, please consider making a donation.