Worried About A Friend?
Supporting a friend when you are worried about them can be difficult to do.
You want to help them in the best way, but they have asked you not so say anything, you may not know how to help them or you feel unsure what to say.
What to look out for
Sometimes when people are not ok or at risk, they behave differently to normal. This won’t look the same for everyone as we all express our emotions and behaviours in our own way. However, typical signs to look out for are:
- Not wanting to do things that they usually enjoy
- Not replying to messages or phone calls or generally being distant
- Not wanting to talk to anyone or be around people
- Being snappy or agitated
- Being upset or tearful
- Changes in behaviour and who they are talking to
- Suddenly having new items, expensive gifts or money
- Becoming attached to their phone and constantly messaging other people
Remember, not everyone will show signs that something is wrong, but it’s important to notice changes even if they are subtle.
What can I do to help?
If you are worried about a friend, you can help them in some important ways:
- Talk to them to let them know that you are worried and give them the space and time to open up if they want to. Remember to listen to them and do not interrupt them
- Ensure they know you are there for them whenever they do want to talk. They may not even have accepted that there is anything wrong yet, but at least they will know they can turn to you if they need to
- Discuss ways they could get help or support from a trusted adult, for example family members, teachers in school or the school nurse
- Support them to get help. You may go along with them or speak up for if they feel that they are unable to share themselves
- You or your friend can access ChildLine if you are not sure what to do and need some advice. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 1111
- If you are really worried, or think your friend is in danger, you must seek help and support from an adult that you trust, even if you promised to keep their secret. Remember protecting your friend’s safety and ensuring their wellbeing is more important than breaking a secret, your friend will forgive you in time
Remember: you may be doing your best to support your friend, but sometimes they need some more support and things are out of your control. Remember that you need to look after yourself too and seek support if you need to.
How to get help
If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.
Find help in your local area
Find help in your local area
Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.