14 Ways To Be A Better Friend For Someone With A Mental Illness

Mental illness is a serious issue, but many don’t realize the importance of having a good friend to support them through it. We asked people in our community living with mental illnesses to tell us what makes a good friend.


Friendships can be vital for getting through the hard times life inevitably throws at us. If you need to cry, laugh or forget about your worries for a little while, friends are an important support system. For those who live with mental illnesses, this social support can be especially important.

We asked people in our community who live with mental illnesses to tell us what makes a good friend. If you’re a friend of someone who has a mental illness, their answer might provide some insight.

Here’s what they told us: 

1. “Give me a hug and let me vent. Sometimes that’s the best thing someone can do.” — Abigayle Petty

2. “Just treat me the way you did before I became ill.” — Denise Cochrane

3. “Don’t tell me to put my big girl panties, but do tell me you support me and love me anyway.” — Andrea Heer

4. “Just calling to ask how I’m doing means a great deal.” — Winona O’Reilly

5. “Don’t confuse my humor, joy, wit or intelligence as symptoms of my illness.” — Rebecca Chamaa

6. “Listen, provide support and understanding. Don’t be judgmental.” — Denise Marie Wilder

7. “Ask me what I need, and give time when the answer is “I don’t know.” — Beth Ann Morhardt

8. “Help destigmatize. Be mindful of your language choices, privately and publicly.” — Sarah Clark

9. “Please be willing to try and ride the waves with me. Just meet me where I’m at… whether I’m up or down, don’t leave me.” — Miranda Tymoschuk

10. “My husband is a prime example. He gives me space to have my small freakouts, but is always there when I cling to him. It’s all about what they need and want at the time. It makes a huge difference” — Marcus Wattson

11. “The biggest support for me is to be validated. Let me know it’s OK to feel this way. I’ll be here for you and promise not to fix you, but to support you.” — Melissa Fryburger-Long

12. “Come to my side to help. Social media is great, but good old-fashioned face time is what I need. Pull me out of my cave and keep me moving!” — Michelle Balck

13. “Don’t try to ‘fix’ me — that’s my job. But encouragement and moral support? That is what I need most.” — Selena Marie Wilson

14. “I would say just be there. Listen. You don’t necessarily need to understand, but being open-minded is always a plus. And comfort, give hugs, let me cry even if it sounds ridiculous. What I’m crying about isn’t ridiculous to me.” — Nikki Ronnenberg


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