It’s not always easy to tell when someone’s going through a hard time. Especially if they’re purposely trying to cover something up. As humans, we have become experts at pretending we’re ok, even when we’re not.
We’re often too proud, or too scared to ask for help. We’re so quick to assume that people have their own problems to deal with, we ask ourselves, “why would they want to hear about my problems??!”
The truth is, we need to be better at looking after each other…
Are they acting strange?
So, whatever the problem might be – if you’re worried about a mate, here are some signs you can look out for that might indicate that they need help:
- Sudden weight loss/gain
- Not sleeping
- Not washing/taking care of their personal hygiene
- Visible physical injuries
- A sudden change in moods which go from one extreme to the other
- Appearing depressed, down in the dumps or sad all the time
- Making excuses for not hanging out or socialising*
- Lying about where they are going/what they are doing
- Unusual body language
- Acting out of character
- Actively pushing you away
- Not reply to texts/calls
- Going out of their way to pretend they are fine, after a traumatic or upsetting event
Not wanting to talk about things which you know are bugging them
- Not wanting to go home
*bare in mind that it can be any combination of these things. Some of them, when on their own might seem like nothing out of the ordinary, but remember to keep your eyes out for other signs that might indicate that something’s up.
Talk it out
Whatever the problem is, chances are, it’ll manifest itself in one of the ways listed above and the very best way to deal with it is to tell you’re friend that you think something’s up. Make sure they know that you’re all ears if they do want to talk. If they don’t want to talk to you about it, you can’t make them speak up.
Instead, try encouraging them to speak anonymously to Ditch the Label. Send the link below in a message and explain that they can access impartial and non-judgmental help from a digital mentor:
They can either post their query anonymously to the community, or message a digital mentor directly. Simply log in, click ‘messages’, and select a mentor to speak to.
Don’t take the risk
It can be difficult to determine whether things like self-harm or talk about suicide is a ‘call for help’ or a genuine attempt or risk. The truth is, it doesn’t actually make a difference because either way, your mate needs help. Never dismiss a suicide reference or threat. It really can be the difference between life and death.
The first and most important thing to do is to speak to a trusted adult about your concerns, especially if your friend is in crisis. Alternatively, you can refer them to the following helplines if they are willing to talk. If not, contact them yourself on behalf of your mate:
- The Samaritans – 116 123
- The Trevor Project (for LGBT+ young people in crisis)