How to be a friend to someone going through mental health struggles or healing

“An old friend who has seen you evolve is an undeniably valuable connection. They always want to hear your raw and unfiltered truth – whether it’s about a down moment or a victory. They know how hard you have worked to fully say goodbye to the past and move into a more vibrant life.

Yung Pueblo
Artwork by @SarahxDesign

Friendships play a huge role in mental and emotional well-being. My friends know how to cheer me up with a trip to Target or the bookstore, or sit and listen to me vent about the ups and downs of life. I remember in 2019 when I found out some heart breaking news, I cried in my car for an hour with my friend Rachele. She sat with me and let me come over to her house to calm down. That night, my friend Amber came over and sat with me too. She wrote Psalms 23 on a loose-leaf paper from her journal and gave it to me as she comforted my hurting heart. It’s friends like that, who know how to meet me where I am and press into the hard moments with kindness, that can make all the difference.

As I mentioned in my previous post, “Counseling: Where to Start,” if you are a friend to someone you are concerned about regarding their mental health, you can voice those concerns kindly in private. Your friend may or may not be willing to hear your concerns or feel motivated to do something to get better. You cannot control if your friend seeks out therapy or not. It has to be a personal choice. 

Sometimes we need a friend to just help get us out of our heads and spend time doing something fun together. I love going on road trips, favorite stores to go shop, walk at the park, go to an arcade, visit a new restaurant, or see a movie with my friends. A good girls night or game night at home instantly can bring me joy and help me feel better.

Some easy ways to stay connected to your friends can be starting a group chat, respond to your texts, host a dinner at home once a month, go on a walk, plan a phone call or FaceTime, workout together, check in when a friend is sick, and make realistic commitments and plans.

Do’s and Don’ts of doing life with a friend going through mental health struggles or healing:


  • Actively listen to your friend without judgement and confirm understanding if needed
  • Affirm healthy boundaries
  • Encourage your friend when you see they are taking steps to take care of themselves. If they are seeking help, taking time off, or letting go of a harmful behavior, cheer them on!
  • Be available to talk or spend time doing a hobby they enjoy. Make a plan and commit to a scheduled time.
  • Point them back to God, community, and the truth of who they are. It is so easy to withdraw to isolation or believe lies about yourself when you are going through a hard time. Be the friend who recognizes these changes and helps take action to bring your friend back into healthy community.
  • Take care of your own mental and emotional health too. Set boundaries for yourself as their friend of what you can help with or if a professional should get involved.
  • Offer to help babysit a pet or kids so they can go out for a night
  • Offer to help clean their home or get them a gift card to their favorite place to eat
  • Be patient if they are having a hard time committing to plans at the moment
  • Allow your friend space if they need it. Sometimes a friend just needs time to figure things out on their own, even if you want to be there for them and miss them.


  • If your friend is recovering from an addiction of any kind, do not have that influence around. Example: if you have a friend recovering from an alcohol addiction, don’t go to a bar or get drinks at a restaurant if that would set them back or make them uncomfortable.
  • Pressure your friend to open up about a past trauma or uncomfortable situation all at once in a moment. Let them open up on their own time.
  • Point out physical or psychological flaws you might observe in an unkind way. I know when I am going through a hard time, my hair might look messy or I can be agitated easily. It can hurt to hear physical criticisms when you are not feeling your best in the first place.
  • Be offended if they need to pause on a routine hang-out for a while. It’s ok to take breaks from a weekly Bible study or event so they can have that extra time to take care of the things in their life they need to.
  • Reflect your own anxiety or mental health struggles onto your friend. If they are talking about what they are going through, just listen. Don’t tangent the conversation about you and what you overcame if they are in the middle of a struggle.
  • Say something ignorant or simplify their experience. Be aware that some off-handed comments can come across as diminishing the impact of a situation. Just because it’s not a big deal to you, doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal to them.
  • Gossip about your friend and their business. It is so easy for venting to turn into gossiping. Be kind even when the situation is frustrating.

Is there any Do’s and Don’ts that I missed? How do you support your friends? Let me know in the comments!

Petit à Petit,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s