How can friends and family help?

This section is for friends and family of someone who is experiencing stress, who want to support them.

If someone you are close to is stressed, there are lots of practical things you can do to support them, even if you cannot change the situation they are in.

  • Help them reflect on their mental wellbeing. Often, people do not notice that some physical symptoms and behaviour, such as not being able to get to sleep, or drinking more than usual, are actually signs of stress, and you may be able to see it before they recognise it themselves. If you have noticed that someone seems particularly busy, anxious or unwell, you could gently let them know, and have them reflect on their mental wellbeing
  • Listen to how they are feeling. Talking openly and being present could help someone to feel calmer and more able to move forward

“[My friends can help by] making me a cup of tea, holding me while I cry, making me laugh…”

  • Reassure  them that  stressful  situations  can  When  someone is in the middle of a stressful time, it can be hard for them to see an end point. Let them know that situations change and can get better

“Not putting extra pressure on me… letting me know they’re there but that I don’t have to do anything.”

  • Help them address some causes of their stress, if you can. You might be able to help your friend or family member look for support around issues like debt, housing problems or difficulties at work
  • Help them learn and practise relaxation techniques. You could help them do some research on, recommend, or practice certain relaxation techniques such as yoga or breathing exercises

[When I’m stressed I need friends to] hug me. It’s amazing how good a single hug can feel.

  • Encourage them to seek professional help. You could help them contact their family doctor, go with them to an appointment, or help them do some research on mental health and wellbeing
  • Look after yourself. If someone around you is very stressed, you might become stressed too. If this happens, try to take a step back and look after your own wellbeing, as being calm and relaxed will make it easier for you to help someone else
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