Tips From Young People with Personal Experience

Mental health basics

How did you start the conversation? 

My friend has been distant for some time (e.g., not replying to my texts and not catching up with friends as often) so I decided to send her a text. I voiced my concern about her mental wellbeing and simply asked her "Are you okay? I am here to chat if you need. I am always here for you." 

She replied saying that she has been stressed and overwhelmed lately and that she didn’t even realise she was isolating herself until I mentioned it to her. This started the conversation about her mental wellbeing and now it’s become part of our everyday conversation.

Honestly, the first time you reach out is always the hardest, it gets easier every time you do it, and I promise you it’s worth it. 

- Rachel, 23 

Responding when someone asks you if you’re okay.

My work colleague asked me R U OK? Because he thought I looked distraught. At first, I brushed his comment off and replied with ‘I am okay’ but he continued the conversation by explaining to me that I do not look like my usual self. I took a moment to reflect on my wellbeing and realised that I was not okay…

It took me a while to open up to him but I felt much better after talking to him about how I have been anxious about uni grades. I appreciated his attention and willingness to listen. I realised that it doesn’t take much to talk about my emotion.

It’s super common for men to deflect/dismiss your help at first or even make funny or stupid comments about it. It might be helpful to open up to them first to build a trustworthy relationship. But don’t try to push too hard because everyone is different and it might take some time. 

– Jim, 20

What signs should I look out for?

  • Withdrawing themselves from friends and family 
  • Lash out at people and get angry or upset easily, including towards the people they care about
  • Cry and become emotional
  • Lose interest in activities and things they usually love
  • Have changed their sleeping patterns. They might be sleeping all the time, not sleeping much at all, or sleeping at strange hours (like in the middle of the day)
  • They could be eating more than usual, or less


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