How to Tell if You Should Be Worried About a Friend

Not everyone hurts the same way. Some people ask for help. Some people self-isolate. Some people hide it. Here are some general ways of trying to gauge how a friend or family member is doing, so that you know how to help.

 

1. Personality change

Are they acting different? That may mean behaving in ways that don’t match their values, changes in sleeping patterns, change in appetite, or uncharacteristic anger or anxiety.

 

2. Withdrawn

Are they retreating into themselves more than normal? Are they opting out of social situations that they normally would be excited about?  Are they quieter than usual in group settings?

 

3. Hopelessness

Have they mentioned feeling like giving up? Has their mindset become more negative? Do they feel hopeless?

 

4. Increased drug and alcohol use

Have they started trying new drugs, or doing drugs and/or drinking more frequently?

 

5. Risky behavior

Have they started taking more risks? A string of new behaviors that are risky, either in general or compared to their general comfort level, can be telling of a deeper issue.

 

6. Self harm

Self harm can take many forms, including toxic behaviors, cutting, starvation, etc.

 

7. Giving away possessions

Giving away possessions, especially prized possessions, is a red flag.

 

8. Drop in grades

 

For more advice go to seizetheawkward.org and suicideproof.org.