#MentalHealthAwareness Why It’s So Important To Check In With Your Friends

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There’s been a lot of talk online and in the media over the past few weeks to #bekind and to ask for help if you need it. 

Both are obviously worthwhile and important sentiments to share, but after thinking about it I think there’s another thing that’s important to do; check in on your friends.

Watch Out For Your Friends

A lot of the time it can be very hard for people to reach out and say that they need help or acknowledge that they’re struggling. So, reaching out to them can really help them and just shows them that you care.

Maybe they’re feeling a bit down, struggling with low self-esteem, not feeling confident, don’t feel like they fit it or have something else going on. Even people who are happy and bubbly on the outside can have something going on.

I think it can be incredibly helpful to let people know that we are there for them. Even if they don’t want to talk at that moment, they might just need to know that someone cares.

If you feel like a friend has suddenly changed ask them, in private and not in front of a big group, if they’re okay. 

Check In With Your "Quiet" Friends

Do you have a friend who never comes out on the weekend? Maybe they do when it’s just the two of you or a really small group? Or maybe they’re part of a group in school but they decline to do anything at the weekend. They might feel anxious doing things or are low in confidence and socialising might terrify them. 

It’s very easy to say “Oh she NEVER comes out” and dismiss someone as no fun, but in my experience a lot of the time there’s a reason why someone is hesitant to go out or socialise. Check in with your friend and see if they have a particular worry or concern.

I’m also not saying that just because someone doesn’t want to do something it means there is something wrong, but I think it’s just good to really take the time to get to know your friends and look out for them and just check in from time to time. It’s okay if they genuinely don’t want to do something, but let them know that you care and that you would like them to start joining you if they feel like it.

Show Your Friends That You Care

Every now and again it’s just good to check in with your friends and see if they’re okay. Even just a quick text to say “How are you doing?” or a Snapchat to say that you’re thinking of them.

It’s often the small gestures that tells people that they are wanted, appreciated and loved. It can mean so much to the other person even if it feels like a small thing to you. And chances are, maybe they are totally fine.

Taking the time to check on your friends and let them know that you care builds stronger friendships and if the day ever comes where you might need a helping hand, they’ll be there to return the favour.

If a friend does confide something major to you, you should encourage them to talk to a trusted adult. You should also do the same. Or they can contact the Samaritans or Childline.

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