What to do When Your Friend is Distressed

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When one of your friends is really upset, it can be a difficult time. It’s important that you do what you can to help your friend, but if the situation makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed, you can encourage your friend to talk to someone else like a counselor, doctor or psychologist.

If your friend tells you something that makes you think that he or she is not safe, it’s important to take action and not keep it a secret. Talk to someone who can help your friend like a counselor, family member, or teacher. If you are concerned that your friend is suicidal, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for information and support.  Here are some ways to help your friend:

Distract your friend. Sometimes taking time out to do something they enjoy can help to take their mind off what is bothering them.

Be supportive. One of the best things you can do to help your friend is be supportive. Letting your friend know that you care, and listening to what he or she has to say can be two ways you can support your friend.

Help your friend work through these feelings.
Working through feelings can sometimes make it easier to manage them.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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