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Helping a Friend

Get help

     If your friend is experiencing warning signs of a mental health condition, encourage him or her to talk to a trusted adult. In addition, let your friend know about resources they can turn to for anonymous support and information.

Online Resources

  • Your Life Your Voice – Peer moderated forums for teens to talk about their issues such as anxiety, depression, eating issues, self-harm, and getting help

  • Teen Line – An online community designed to inspire young adults through teen-to-teen education and support

  • – An online forum for teens and young adults to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories

  • Resources listed under Know the Warning Signs for additional information on symptoms of mental health conditions.


Talk to Someone

  • Text NAMI to 741-741 for Crisis Text Line

  • San Francisco Suicide Prevention Crisis Line: (415) 781-0500

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800)-273-8255



Be a Good Friend

One of the most important factors in recovery is the understanding and acceptance of friends. Below is a list of ways you can help a friend who is living with a mental health condition:

  • Include your friend in your plans – continue inviting him or her, even if they turn down your invitation

  • Help your friend stay positive

  • Don’t treat him or her differently

  • Stay up for your friend

  • Check-in regularly, listen and offer support

  • Learn more about mental health conditions (see websites listed under Know the Warning Signs).

It is important to remember that you cannot support your friend on your own. Reach out for help in supporting them.


Reduce Stigma

Stigma is the biggest reason people don’t try to get help. By taking steps to reduce mental health stigma in your school and community, you can help your friend feel more comfortable speaking up when they need support. The sooner your friend gets help, the greater their chances of getting better will be. Below is a list of things you can do to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and end the silence:

  • Talk about mental health with friends and family

  • Share links to resources on social media

  • Don’t bully, stereotype, or label others

  • Call people out if they use stigmatizing language

  • Use people first language

    • If you speak to or about a person with a mental health condition, speak to the person first, and then the mental health condition

Ex: Instead of a “bipolar person” say a “person living with bipolar disorder”

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