Surfers rarely ride solo. Connecting with your crew is an important part of life. Find ways to connect with them through the ups and downs.
If you are looking for a place to hang out or connect, these spots are good places to start:
Helping a friend in need
Sometimes just knowing someone is there for you can make a world of difference. Here are some tips to guide you on how to approach and support a friend in need.
- Break the ice
If you’re concerned that a friend might be struggling with their mental health, start the conversation with your friend. Don’t judge or make assumptions. Just stick to the facts and say what you see. Describe the changes you’ve noticed in them and tell them why you’re worried.
- Show you care
Telling someone you’re there for them is a good first step. Even if you don’t know what to say, just shoot them a text to let them know you’re thinking about them. Everyone is different so it’s important to ask how you can help and then really listen to what they say. Again, don’t make assumptions: what you think they need or what you would want someone to do for you may not be what your friend needs.
- Be a good listener and balance the conversation
Listening, asking questions and sharing your thoughts or experiences are all elements of conversation. Being a good listener and being there for someone means prioritizing those elements of the conversation in that order.
- Protect your relationship and your mental health
Setting clear boundaries will help you maintain a healthy relationship with your friend while still being supportive. You’re not their therapist or their doctor. So, don’t fix, don’t preach. You’re there to listen and help them get the help they need.
- Access professional and community resources
An important part of being there for someone is helping them access professional and community resources and services. Encouraging and supporting someone to get the help they need normalizes help-seeking behaviour. It’s like when that first brave student has the courage to stick their hand up in a large classroom or auditorium and ask a question. From then-on, it’s just a little bit easier for everyone else to ask their questions.
When to get help
If you see someone is struggling to cope, suggest they reach out to community supports or professional help as soon as possible. Let them know that there are people they can talk to who can help (like at their local Youth Wellness Hub, or a school counsellor, family doctor, or helpline), and that they don’t have to go through this alone.
If your friend is in crisis, call 9-1-1 or emergency services.
Keep following up
If they refuse help, but are not in crisis, follow up periodically and encourage them to get help. Pushing too hard will only push them further away.
For more great info on how to help a friend, check out Bethere.org.
Adapted from Bethere.org.