Look for the signs

We always want to be there for our friends, especially when they’re having a hard time. But, how do we know when they need our help?

Especially during a time like this, a lot of individuals are struggling with their mental health. Maybe it’s a case of the anniversary effect, or maybe it’s something more. And unfortunately, pinpointing the signs that a friend is struggling can be difficult because everyone is different. We don’t all handle our issues or communicate our problems in the same way. However, there are some silent signs that you can look out for.

Take a look below at some of these signs, so that you can recognize the next time your friend needs help.

They’re communicating less

Dots Hello GIF by Equal Parts Studio - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you and your friend usually chat a couple of times a week, but lately it’s been pretty silent? No text, no phone call, not even a funny Instagram DM? If so, it’s a good idea to check in. Many people tend to distance themselves from their friends and family when they’re going through a hard time. But when we struggle, is when we need people most.  Reach out and let them know you’re there.

They’ve lost interest in their usual activities

Colors Create GIF by arts of GrIeF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you’ve noticed that your friend is suddenly no longer interested in any of the activities that used to bring them joy, ask them about it. If they used to love painting, but now can’t be bothered, find out why. If your friend suddenly stopped joining your weekly virtual game nights, check in with them. It may just be because they’re busy, but it could also be a sign that they’re not feeling like their usual self. So, if you notice a sign like this, send them a message or give them a call.

They’re always busy

V Busy GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Does your friend suddenly have no free time? Are they always busy with work, school and assignments? If so, this would be a great time to check in. Your friend may be taking on too much at once without even realizing it. Balance is important. Remind your friend that they need time to relax and unwind before they burn out. It’s easy to forget about self-care. That’s why sometimes we need a good friend to remind us.

They’re having trouble sleeping

Sleep Artists On Tumblr GIF by Challenger - Find & Share on GIPHY

Trouble sleeping is a big sign of being overly stressed or even depressed. Maybe your friend hasn’t outright said that they’re having trouble sleeping, but maybe they’ve mentioned feeling tired all the time. If they have, this is definitely a sign to take note of.

Their mood has changed


Look for changes in their personality or their mood. The change could be big, or it could be very subtle. For example, a big change would be a generally outgoing and outspoken friend suddenly becoming reserved and withdrawn. Or it could be a more subtle change, like getting upset or frustrated a little more easily than usual. Look for these signs when you talk to your friends and don’t be afraid to mention the changes you’ve noticed. It could just be the thing that opens them up and gives them the outlet they need.

Sad Schitts Creek GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

Unfortunately, this list isn’t foolproof. There may not always be an obvious sign that your friend might be struggling. But, trust your gut. You can often sense when something is wrong with a loved one. So, trust that feeling.

And if you can, try to check in with your friends every once in a while, whether there’s a sign they need help or not.

Learn why talking about mental health is so important, so that you feel comfortable having these, sometimes difficult, conversations.

Follow IGNITE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all things student life.