blog: supporting a friend through a tough time by chelsea
Supporting a Friend Through a Tough Time
By Chelsea (headspace Adelaide Youth Ambassador)
Hey! My name is Chelsea and I am a Youth Ambassador here at headspace Adelaide. This is my first blog here at the Online Functional Recovery Space.
Some completely random facts about me:
- When I was about 14, I taught myself how to do some popular songs in sign language from YouTube videos. However, they were mostly in ASL, and though I can’t do this anymore unfortunately, I could probably find a video!
- When I was a toddler, my parents sent a video of me doing the Hokey Pokey really really fast to Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. I’ve never seen this video, but I’m sure it’s lurking on a VHS tape somewhere.
- I had to have plastic surgery on my middle finger when I was only one year old after jamming it in a door. *oops* However, I’ve never broken a bone! *knock on wood.
I hope you found these small facts interesting and they made you smile.
In my first blog post today, I will be covering how to support a friend during a tough time. It’s really important that with everything that’s happening in the world at the moment that we stay connected with the people around us. I hope you are able to take something away from today’s post and that it helps you to feel more confident and comfortable with supporting those around you.
What can I do if my friend is not okay? How can I best support them in these challenging times?
You decided to organise a Zoom call with your friend because you realised you haven’t spoken with them as much since being in isolation (iso) and thought you should check-in to make sure everything’s okay.
However, when speaking with your friend, you notice they seem tired, anxious and withdrawn. When you ask them what’s wrong, they express they are feeling overwhelmed with all the recent changes to their daily life and that they are struggling with levels of motivation and keeping a healthy sleep and eating routine.
The outbreak of Covid-19 can affect everyone differently and can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming time for some people. During this time, some aspects of your friend’s life may be affected by attempts to contain the spread of the virus such as through the cancellation of events and changes to school, uni and work. They may be prevented from partaking in events that they would normally enjoy (e.g. playing sport, going shopping, hanging out with friends etc.) or have a family or friend directly affected by the virus.
With all these changes to their daily life, you find your friend needs some extra support to help them get through this time. One great way you can offer support to your friend is by staying connected. Not only will this help your friend, but it should hopefully give you an outlet to express your feelings and ensure you are socially engaged as well.
So how can I stay connected?
Start a conversation. If you notice someone is not okay, let them know that you care about them and that they are not alone.
When they are ready and comfortable to share, listen to them non-judgmentally. It can take a lot of courage to open up so it’s important you take their feelings seriously.
The next thing you can do is offer and encourage positive coping strategies. These are different for everyone based on what they enjoy. Some people like to practice self-care by exercising, reading a book or listening to music. In addition, there are some great applications available on the App Store/Google Play for some meditation/relaxation activities.
If due to the restrictions your friend feels like they can no longer do the activity they most enjoy, try and see if you can find an alternative. For instance, I had just taking up figure skating before all the closures. While I was heartbroken, I could no longer no longer go to my lessons or practice my skills at the rink, I decided to buy roller skates so I could still somewhat practice at home.
Remember that just because you’re in iso and maintaining social distancing doesn’t mean you have to do these activities alone. Zoom calls are great for hanging out with your friends from home in real-time. Also, I’ve found Zoom sessions are great for study groups!
However, it’s important to know that if someone is struggling with a mental health problem or are affected by Covid-19 their problems are not going to solved instantly. The best thing you can do, however, is to provide unconditional support and acceptance.
If you are really worried, ask for help! Some links are below...
Speak soon! Chelsea signing off for now.
Helpful support links
National 24/7 crisis services
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au
beyondblue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
Additional youth support services
headspace: visit headspace.org.au to find your nearest centre or call headspace on 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263 or sane.org