When you helping a friend, you have to look after them, your relationship and yourself. Helping your friend who is having difficulties can be very rewarding. However, you can quickly feel overwhelmed, tired or even burnt out over time. To succeed in remaining available for the other person, it is essential to take care of yourself and respect your limits.
It is important to remember that you are their friend, not their therapist. You can give your loved one support, love and empathy, but you cannot cure them. You can help them by referring them to professionals who have the skills and relational distance to help your friend get better. To do this, please visit the Resources page.
I understand your situation, I'm sorry that you feel bad right now.
I would like to help you at my level, so that you can find appropriate help.
Be aware of your own limits and stick to them: you may feel bad, tired, sad. In this case, you have the right (even the duty) to set limits in the help you can give. If your friend makes a request that you don't want to answer, you have the right to refuse, but this does not make you a bad friend. You can offer help that suits you better instead.
I can see that you are not well at the moment, but it has been difficult for several weeks for me too.
I'm not sure I'm the best person to help you.
If you agree, we can research who we can turn to for help together.
Seek support from those around you: you have the right to debrief the situation and talk about your feelings with another person close to you. Remember, you are just as important as the person you are helping. Talking about what happened with someone you trust can help you to distance yourself from the situation. Be discreet, don't share what your friend has told you with everyone, but remember that you are not bound by professional secrecy, especially if your friend is in danger! You can also turn to anonymous helplines (Nightline, 3114, etc.), or to a professional if you feel you are struggling.
After helping your friend, take time for yourself, refocus on your needs and desires and give yourself a break. Do activities where you can think about something else, have fun and relax (if it's hard to take care of yourself, check outthis page).
If you are helping your loved one on a daily basis with mental health difficulties, this means that you are a carer for that person (known as a young carer or young adult carer). When you are a carer, it is very important to have time for support. There are specific associations for carers which can provide you with information, listening and help. Don't forget to think about yourself.