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How to Check In on Friends About Their Mental Health

September 8, 2022 Shubhechha Dhar

Trigger warning: This post involves a frank discussion of suicidal thoughts

As someone with an anxiety disorder, trying to enjoy life is not easy. My anxiety stole a lot of the fun I could have had in high school, and at university, like all the clubs I wanted to join but decided not to because I was uncomfortable. Day-to-day activities were a struggle. It made my life two times harder and got me overthinking every social interaction I had. It kept me up at night, made me worry about everything, and made me doubt myself. My anxiety made me feel like life was not worth living. 

Anxiety and suicidal ideation often go hand in hand. A research paper revealed that amongst people who reported a lifetime history of suicide attempts, over 70 percent had an anxiety disorder.1 Having an anxiety disorder is known to be an independent risk factor for the onset of suicidal ideation and attempts.2 Being one of the most common mental disorders, it is important that we check in on those with anxiety about their mental health. 

How to Check In on Friends About Their Mental Health 

Oftentimes, when I'm struggling with anxiety or feel like life is not worth living, a text message from a friend or family member helps me feel better. While a text message is no cure for anxiety, it definitely helps me feel less alone. Based on what I'd like to hear when I'm struggling, here are some text messages you can send to check in on friends and family who struggle with anxiety. 

  1. "I was just thinking of you. How have you been?"
    Texts like these remind me that I'm not alone and that there is someone out there who cares about me and is thinking of me. 
     
  2. "I'm always here for you. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help."
    Being offered help and being reassured that someone is by my side goes a long way in making me feel less lonely with my struggles. 
     
  3. "It's been a while since we've talked. Do you want to grab dinner soon?"
    Sometimes just being offered company helps. You can ask your friends to join you for a walk or any other activity that might be relaxing or comforting. 
     
  4. "Would you like me to listen to you, or are you looking for advice?"
    I'm not always looking for advice and sometimes just want someone to listen to me, so it is helpful when someone asks me. 

Offering support doesn't have to be a grand gesture. You can check in on your friends through something as simple as a text. 

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources, and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.

Sources

  1. Nepon, J., Belik, S. L., Bolton, J., & Sareen, J. (2010, August 30). The relationship between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts: findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Depression and Anxiety, 27(9), 791–798. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20674

  2. Nepon, J., Belik, S. L., Bolton, J., & Sareen, J. (2010, August 30). The relationship between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts: findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Depression and Anxiety, 27(9), 791–798. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20674

  3. What are Anxiety Disorders? (n.d.). American Psychiatric Association . Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders.

APA Reference
Dhar, S. (2022, September 8). How to Check In on Friends About Their Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2022/9/how-to-check-in-on-friends-about-their-mental-health



Author: Shubhechha Dhar

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