Responding to Your Friend's Mental Health Support Needs
How should you respond when a friend talks to you about his mental health support needs? Those who receive this invitation may feel some mixed emotions, so I'd like to address those feelings. You can handle requests for the mental health support needs of your friends in different ways.
Be Flattered: It's Tough for Friends to Approach You with Mental Health Support Needs
Your friend has put some thought into his mental health support needs and decided that you would be a good person to have on his support team. The invitation to join a tribe of mental health supporters is significant. It shows how much your friend values you and your input (How to Help Someone with a Mental Illness).
Make sure to inform him that you realize how difficult it can be to request this type of support and that you feel honored to have been asked.
Freely Choose Yes or No
Just because this person is someone you love and care about doesn't mean that you have to say yes to a request to take part in his mental health support system. You should feel okay choosing whichever option is the best one for you, even if that means your friend needs to continue looking for the right teammates. You don't have to say yes out of obligation.
You Won't Be Alone in Your Friend's Support System
While you obviously mean a lot to your friend, by definition, a system or tribe excludes the possibility that you'll be doing this alone. As you consider this request, remember that you're not responsible for your friend's mental health or happiness. These and other boundaries are important - watch the video below for more on my thoughts.
I've been on a roll discussing friendships and mental health: first Why Friendships Are Beneficial for Our Health, then How to Choose Those Who Belong in Your Tribe. Check them out.
How have your friends responded to your requests to help you meet your mental health support needs?
Meredith, M. (2018, June 25). Responding to Your Friend's Mental Health Support Needs, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2018/6/responding-to-your-friends-mental-health-support-needs
Author: Morgan Meredith
This is such a wonderful read. Reaching out can truly be one of the most difficult things for a person to do, so if someone reaches out it truly is an honor. However, like you said it is so important to be mindful of your own boundaries. If you feel you can positively support your friend then lean in, but if you feel that you can't you need to do what is best for you (and them) by gently explaining this.
Thanks Lizanne - it's so huge to have that distinction and balance made (between your own boundaries and the needs of our friends) - one that often takes an entire lifetime to learn!