If your friend is experiencing mental health problems, there are a lot of things - big and small - that you can do to help. These stories are about the good and bad ways that friends have responded to someone with a mental health problem. 

Ask twice and let them know you're there to listen

Someone who has shown me they were in my corner was my friend Sandra who I first met at work; we became friends after recognising our similar tastes in books, and penchant for morning coffee.

We'd eventually come to realise we had more in common than initially thought.

I don't know how to explain it fully but when I talked to her, about anything and everything I felt that sense of "this is a safe space, this person gets me".

I'm trying my best, like everyone else - don't treat me like a burden

I often feel like people in my life can be caring…but only for a short time and only if it doesn’t interfere with their own lives. 

There are times I haven’t left my bed for 3 or 4 days. My thoughts have turned against me. My mind battles to stay alive. I hear an overwhelming voice telling me my friends hate me, that they’re talking about me, laughing at me or plotting against me. 

At first it feels like my friends care, check in and worry about me. But soon it feels like I’m a burden and I hear things from them that aren’t helpful.

My mental illness won't be 'cured' quickly

Just because I’ve gotten help doesn’t mean I’m recovered.

These days many people are becoming more receptive to mental illness and the struggles that come with it. From social media trends for ‘checking on your friends’ to a social awareness on how pressure on young girls can lead to eating disorders, mental illness is now mainstream.

However, along with this increased understanding and social normalisation come many misconceptions.

You don't need to understand my mental health - just listen

I’ve suffered with depression for 16 years. The one main thing that triggered it was bullying, but my life has been a story of events and now I believe it’s my time to start talking out and supporting those around me.

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