For Students/Self Help - Worried About a Friend?
What is it?
Concern about a friend’s behavior over the last few days/weeks.
- Shows significant changes in daily routine/daily patterns: Eating, sleeping, studying, class attendance, etc.
- Shows change in social activity. Your friend that usually is social, energetic and engaged with you and other friends is now not interacting in those same ways. This is not to be confused with a friend showing interest in different social activities than he/she has in the past, but rather, is now not engaging socially much at all, or considerably more than normal.
- Overly pessimistic or negativistic attitude.
- Engages in talk of death, suicide, end of life issues, morbid things.
- Becomes engaged in high risk behaviors (risky drug, alcohol, sexual, driving, etc. practices) that pose a risk to his/her health.
- Doesn’t seem to be “themself” over the course of several days. You have noticed that something just doesn’t seem to be right with them over an extended period of time, and is not due to any significant life event or loss.
What can I do about it?
- Tell them of your concern, and ask if there is anything that you can do? Remember that many people might initially deny problems, but don’t be afraid to ask again. Another hint is to clearly demonstrate to the person that you are sincerely interested in being there for them, and not just there to find out some gossip or relish in their struggle.
- If the person denies or does not want help, but clearly is in distress in some way do not be afraid to ask another friend to talk with them, or to talk to them with you.
- Tell your RA about your concern.
- Refer them to the counseling center. Help them make an appointment by calling with them/walking over with them/etc., if they would like the assistance.
- Call the counseling center for advice.
- Be a good friend. Many issues that cause distress stem from feelings of social disconnectedness/feelings of unimportance/perceived lack of care and support from those around him/her. Your friendly efforts might be just what the person needs.
- Help facilitate your friend finding activities on campus. i.e. campus activities, touchstone, sporting events, etc.
Links to more info