If your friend doesn't want to get help and you are still worried
Continue to support them in a respectful way. Try not to judge them or become frustrated.
Let their family or another trusted adult know that you are worried. You have to strike the right balance between your friend's right to privacy and the need to make sure they are safe. If you decide to tell someone else, try to let your friend know first that you are planning on doing this.
What not to do or say
- Don't tell them to cheer up or get over it - this is not helpful.
- Don't encourage them to have a night out involving drugs or alcohol. Substance use may help them cope with their concerns temporarily, but is likely to make things worse.
- Don't make promises you can't keep - if your friend is at risk of harming themselves or somebody else, you need to seek immediate help, even if they ask you not to.
Some things you can say or ask to encourage someone to seek further help
- Have you talked to anyone else about this? It's great that you have talked to me, but it might be good to get advice and help from a health worker.
- Getting help doesn't always mean sitting on a couch with a psychologist or taking medication. Did you know that GPs can help with this sort of stuff? Find one that bulk bills then all you need is your Medicare card (i.e. you don't have to pay)
- There are some great websites you can check out to get more information: headspace.org.au; reachout.com.au; youthbeyondblue.com
- Did you know that you can get free and confidential support online or over the phone? You can log on to eheadpace.org.au to get online and telephone support from a mental health professional. You can also call Kids Helpline or Lifeline to speak to someone. All of these services are anonymous.
- I know you're not feeling great now, but with the right help and support, you can get through this. If you are worried that your friend needs urgent medical help or might hurt themselves or somebody else, you need to tell somebody immediately, even if they have asked you not to. This could be a parent, teacher, their GP, someone from a local health service or by calling 000.
Supporting a friend through a tough time can be difficult. Remember to look after yourself and your needs. Following the 'Tips for a healthy headspace' fact sheet may be a good way to look after your own wellbeing to prevent any problems developing. If at any stage you feel overwhelmed you should consider getting some support from a trusted adult (e.g. parent, teacher or GP).