How to help a Friend in a Mental health Crisis?

How to help a Friend in a Mental health Crisis?

A girl helping her Friend through tough times

We often can sense that our friends are feeling low or just don’t seem like themselves every now and then. We all face rough patches at times, maybe it’s because things aren’t going our way, we have too much on our plates, we’ve had fights with our family or partner etc. There are a number of reasons why someone might be feeling down and all those reasons are valid. Sometimes when a friend turns to us for some support, we don’t always know How to Respond. We might feel that we are entering too much into their space or commenting about their situation might sound insensitive or maybe like crossing the boundaries that were initially built.

Helping a Friend in Crisis

In this article, we will discuss a few ways to Recognize the signs of a Mental Health Crisis in a Friend and How we can help them in the best Way Possible.

• Ask them what they want to do about their situation

When you notice that your friend isn’t in a good mood, try asking them if they want to talk to you about what’s on their mind or if they want their space for a bit. See what they feel comfortable doing.

• Should I be a good listener or get them some Advice?

When your friend tells you that they want to talk about their problem or what has been bothering them, ask them if they want you to be a good listener or if they are looking forward to hearing your advice on their current situation.

If they express that they are looking for a place to vent out how they feel then make sure you don’t interrupt them while they speak about their feelings. Ensure that you are being an active listener so that they don’t end up feeling like their emotions and feelings aren’t valid. Give them a non-judgmental environment so that they don’t end up feeling like they are wrong or should feel guilty about their actions. Make them feel heard, that’s the goal here.

If they say that they looking for your advice by the end of the conversation, only then talk about what you feel they should do next about their current situation. While giving advice, ensure that you understand their situation properly by putting yourself in their shoes. Make sure you aren’t being biased and think clearly before giving them the next step on what to do.

• Validate how they feel

Try showcasing sympathy to them in order for them to feel like what they are going through is tough and you hope they feel better soon. For example, using sentences like “I’m so sorry that you are going through this, I can’t imagine how terrible you must be feeling. But if there’s anything that I can help you with please do let me know.” “I’m here for you” “I’m just one call or text away if you need me”. These phrases will give them the assurance that they are not alone and have a person to count on if they are looking to seek help.

• Giving them reassurance

Telling them sentences like “You’re so strong” and “You got this!” “You don’t have to do this alone, I’m always here for you” “We’ll figure this out together” can make a person feel much better and also feel like they have people who are supportive and they aren’t alone in this rough patch of theirs.

• Checking to see if they are feeling suicidal

Emotional pain can be difficult to bear at times, particularly for those who lack support and resources. This can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. If you care about someone who is going through a difficult time, especially if they have had suicidal thoughts in the past, ask them directly if they are thinking about hurting themselves.

These conversations can be uncomfortable but the sooner they get help the better. They can reach out to various mental health organizations and suicide prevention numbers that help during these tough times. There’s no shame in contacting a mental health professional, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help. We all are humans and we do need extra support so it’s alright to seek help.

• Do activities that could cheer them up

If your friend doesn’t want to talk about how they are feeling then think about something that makes them happy and engage in that activity with them. For example, if your friend likes ice cream, then take them out and get some extra scoops of ice cream for the gloomy day. If they love eating pizza, then take them to their favourite café or restaurant that serves great pizzas with even better cheese pulls!
It can be difficult to watch a loved one suffer; these activities might not solve their issues but it sure can put them in a lighter mood.

• Talk about your personal experience

Discussing some of your own difficulties can help to encourage your friend to do the same. It demonstrates that we are not all perfect and that it is okay to be vulnerable. But while you are doing this make sure that you aren’t making the conversation all about yourself where your friend ends up feeling unheard.

Talk about your experience, and what helped you handle them, this can give a sense of feeling that all of us have rough patches and we all do end up figuring things out so it’s alright to be in a bad mood but it isn’t alright to run away from how you’re feeling. Ask them to acknowledge how they feel, take some time off things that feel like they are too much and then solve their situation.


In the toughest scenarios, there is no perfect thing to say, but we can help each other by engaging in conversation, expressing compassion, and listening with a sense of understanding. These are the conversations that strengthen our relationships, even if they can be difficult to initiate at times. They give us the impression that we have somewhere to turn when the world feels lonely and dark.

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