Photo © Courtesy of Jack.org
The last year has challenged youth mental health like never before. And with a new school year on the horizon, there will be new challenges. From academic pressure to social anxiety, reopening will pose new difficulties and stresses for the young people in our lives. The good news is that young people are talking more openly about mental health than ever. It’s them who’ve been vocal about how common mental health struggles are for so many of us.
Young people have opened up the floodgates of conversation about mental health, but too few of us know how to support them when they need it. In a survey conducted by Jack.org, the only Canadian charity that works to empower youth to improve mental health in every province and territory, 83% of young people reported supporting a friend with their mental health. Still, only 39% of them felt prepared to offer the support that was needed.
To bridge the gap, Jack.org developed Be There, the most engaging and comprehensive online resource available to learn how to support someone struggling with their mental health. It walks you through five straightforward Golden Rules to help you create an empathetic and supportive space for the person who’s struggling.
- Say What You See: Break the ice and start a conversation. Something as simple as mentioning the changes you’ve seen and asking if they’re okay can make someone feel less alone.
- Show You Care: Build trust and show your support. Sometimes just knowing someone is there for you can make a world of difference. Part of being there for someone is also finding practical ways to help them get through their day to day life.
- Hear Them Out: Being a good listener means striking a balance between listening, asking questions, and sharing your experiences. Don’t preach, pry, or pretend to have all the answers, just try to understand where they’re coming from and be as supportive as you can.
- Know Your Role: Helping someone through a mental health struggle can be challenging. Setting clear boundaries will help you maintain a healthy relationship while still being supportive. Don’t judge, just listen and help them get the help they need.
- Connect to Support: An important part of being there for someone is helping them access professional and community resources and services. Ask how you can support them in getting help.
Your mental health is just as important as anyone else’s, so Be There also walks you through how to look out for your own mental health too. Find helpful resources to decode and recognize when you’re struggling, tips for devoting some time to self-care, and how to reach out for help when you need it.
After using Be There, 92% of people found it to be an extremely beneficial mental health resource, and 96% of people reported they felt confident in their ability to be there for a friend struggling with their mental health. Be There was also named the Top Health Website in the World in the 2020 Webby Awards.
We know that it’s parents, guardians, and friends that young people lean on when it comes to mental health. And so we must have the knowledge and skills we need to show up for them when they need it. If you haven’t yet, please check out BeThere.org and get to know the 5 Golden Rules. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours, you can learn more about how to support the people in your life, lean into mental health conversations, and maintain your own mental health at the same time.
Created by Jack.org, Be There is the most engaging and comprehensive resource available to learn how to support someone struggling with their mental health.