This article contains discussion of mental illness.
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Friends are important to people who are struggling with mental illness, but sometimes those friends might not know the best way to go about helping.
Lithgow Youth Care Coordinator Bonnie Bassett said that some friends need time and space before they feel ready to get support.
"Being afraid of things changing or being judged, can be a big factor in why people don't seek support when they need it," she said.
Ms Bassett said that patience was key with interacting with people who may be struggling.
"You may need to be patient with your friend and try to not judge them or get frustrated if you can't get through to them at first," she said.
"Remind them that you are there if they need you and give them time."
It is also okay if you need to involve a trusted adult, Ms Bassett said.
"If you do decide to tell someone, try to let your friend know that you're planning on doing this first and encourage them to get involved in the discussion," she said.
"Being a good friend means being there for someone while they're hitting some bumps in the road.
"It means offering love and support when you notice someone needs it the most. It can mean simply being a shoulder for them to cry on - but that can be hard to do when it comes to helping an online friend."
Remember that just as with any person or relationship, you cannot fix the person or control what they do going forward.- Bonnie Bassett
As most young people are more likely to open up behind a screen, Ms Bassett said that shouldn't stop people from being there to help.
"You might be the first person who listens, believes, or encourages them to seek treatment, and that can change that person's life," she said.
"However, remember it's not all on you - there are professionals who can help."
If you notice a person posting on a public social media platform, Ms Bassett said that making your support private will make your friend feel safe enough to open up.
"Sending a private message online is a good option - even something as simple as "I saw your post and I'm thinking of you," she said.
But supporting a friend through tough times can be difficult so it is important that you take care of yourself.
"Try to remember that you're their friend and not their counsellor, be realistic about what you can and can't do," she said.
"Set boundaries for yourself to make sure that you're doing the best thing for yourself, your friend and the friendship."
1. Listen and try not to judge or "fix things" straight away
2. Let your friend know that they don't have to go through this on their own
3. Some people need 'time' or 'space' before they're willing to accept help.
4. Suggest they read stories at headspace.org.au about other young people who have made it through difficult times
5. Be honest about why you are worried
6. Encourage them to try some self-help strategies.
7. Don't be too forceful in encouraging self-help activities.
8. Encourage them to talk to a trusted adult about what is going on and how they are feeling (e.g. a family member, teacher, sports coach).
9. Sometimes, self-help strategies and/or talking to family and friends is not enough and that's okay. There are a lot of professionals out there who can help.
10. Let them know about eheadspace if your friend would prefer to seek help online rather than face-to-face.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and need support for you, it might be a good time to reach out for extra help. A good place to start is a trusted adult.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
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