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. Friends keep us grounded and can provide the connection we need to remind us we’re worth having around.
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