Depression and anxiety are scary, especially among high school students. What should you do if someone comes to you with concerns of depression or anxiety? What do you do if you feel someone might be struggling and you’re not sure how to bring it up to them? These are frequent questions asked among teenagers in today's world.
When someone in your life comes to you in need of help with their mental health, it may be hard to navigate what to do. The most important thing to remember is to listen. Listening could be the difference of how the conversation goes. Never try to dismiss what the person is expressing to you about their struggles concerning mental health. If they trust you to come and share that they need help, they value their relationship with you. Acknowledge what you hear the person sharing with you, and try and help them come up with a plan towards a healthier mindset. A student at Campion shares when someone opened up to them about struggles with depression, “I tried not to get caught up in the moment too emotionally, having a logical mindset in the situation to take the next step to keep the person safe.”
Something we might worry about with the topic of someone’s mental health is overstepping boundaries. A student at Campion shared some good advice from her experience with a friend opening up to her about mental health. “You have to remember that the person is overwhelmed and not thinking clearly. Because you see this, it’s important that you take steps to get them help. Now that you know they are struggling, boundaries don’t really matter. You are now accountable for that person and their safety.”
If you see noticeable differences about a person’s mood and know that something is not right, how should you bring up to him or her that you are concerned about their mental health? This is a hard conversation, but if you truly care about this person then it’s an important one to have. If the person is really truly struggling, they will appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to talk to them. “Talking openly feels like popping the bubble of overwhelming and intense feelings. It can be very healing just to feel heard,” explained a student. Having a time set aside to be able to really talk about what this person is feeling and making sure the person knows that you are a safe place is important. Let the other person talk and simply listen to what they are expressing to you. Be courteous to the other person and let them know that you care about them.
The number one thing to remember is that if someone expresses concerns about their own safety, steps need to be taken for professional intervention. This is a subject that needs to be taken extremely seriously. It is better to be too careful than to regret not getting help for the person who needs it. Don’t be afraid to tell a parent, pastor, or professional. When you have done all you can do for the person and are still worried, continue to pray for him or her. Jesus deeply cares for the person you are worried about. Jesus will help you to remain calm and be there for the person who needs you.
Megan Michalenko, Student Editor