Life issues

NIP it in the bud- the three step process when you're worried about a friend

25 Jun 2020

Starting a conversation



“NIP it in the bud” 3 step process

N stands for Notice:

You might notice changes in a young person:
Things like

  • A noticeable change in how they are feeling and thinking
  • Feelings like anger, sadness, fear, not caring about anything, risk taking
  • You might see changes in the way your child is behaving or acting
  • Not enjoying things anymore
  • Changes in eating or sleeping
  • Being easily irritated or having problems with friends and family
  • Finding they can’t focus on things or maintain attention
  • Feeling down or that there is no hope or point to life
  • Having trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Having negative thoughts or distressing thoughts
  • Feeling unusually stressed or worried
  • OR, Changes socially like withdrawal, being secretive, acting out of character

I stands for Inquire:

There’s no perfect way to start a conversation about mental health – so it’s ok if you’re finding it hard. It can help to do some research first, and also find a time and place where everyone involved is feeling safe.
When asking, it can help to be specific about the things you’ve noticed. And remember, you’re asking to understand. Understanding your young person’s experience can leave you in a better place to respond in a way that helps.
Some ways to try might be:
Q: Hey, I’ve noticed you seem to have a lot on your mind at the moment. I’d like to hear how it’s been for you.
Q: I’ve noticed that sleep has been harder for you lately. Have you got some ideas about why that might be?
Q: I haven’t seen any of your friends recently. How have things been going?
Q: What can I do to be help?

P stands for Provide.

It’s about providing whatever it is you think your young person might need at that time. It will include support, listening, and empathy. Responding in a way that shows you’re really listening can make a big impact. Here are some statements that might help.
Statement - I can hear this is really tough for you
Statement – It sounds like it’s been impacting lots of areas of your life
Statement - Thank you for sharing with me, I care about how you feel and what you’re going through.
Taking the time to really try to understand can show the young person you’re a safe place to go to for support, and might mean they end up sharing more. In trying to find the best way to offer some support, it can help to share the decisions with the young person. Some statements that might help are:
Statement – I’d like to find a way that I can be helpful for you. Would that be ok for you?
Statement – It sounds like home is a bit stressful at the moment. Would you like to have a go with me at figuring out some ways to take some of that stress away?
Statement – I’m not feeling very confident about the best way to help at the moment. Would it be ok if we called a service to help us figure out the best way forward?

If you have immediate concerns take them to Emergency or phone 000 and stay with them.


For a PDF version of this information please click HERE


Gryan Miers and Maddy McMahon from the Geelong Cats feature in a video explaining this process for young people, to view this video please follow this link to our Facebook page. 

Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher, features in a video for parents and carers explaining the NIP it in the bud process. You can find that video here. 

Please feel free to share these videos to get this message out.

Local Support Services

headspace Geelong

Supports young people from 12-25 who are going through a tough time.
To book an appointment, call 5222 6690.

Hope Bereavement Care
Offers free information, support and counselling when grieving he death of a child, the sudden and unexpected death of an adult and those experiencing loss after suicide
Call: 03 4215 3358 EMAIL:

Barwon Health Jigsaw & Barwon Child and Youth Triage

This is the initial point of contact within Barwon Health Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Service for infants, children and young people aged 0-25 years and their families.

Barwon Health


Be you

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