It’s been a long year for everyone, but one thing it has given us is an important reminder that when it comes to mental health, everyone needs support now and then — even our strongest friends!
When you think of a strong friend, it probably takes no more than a few seconds for a name to pop into your head. They always seem to have their lives together, and never fail to show up with tape and glue in hand when you feel like you’re falling apart. It’s hard to imagine they ever struggle, but they do. They’re just usually pretty quiet about it.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought mental health struggles to light in a poignant way. At only three months in, nearly 40 percent of Americans reported that they were struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse. As time went on, that number grew larger and reached a point where more people were struggling than not. It’s safe to say there are quite a few “strong friends” mixed in with that group.
As the world continues to process this strange time in history, it’s crucial to pay attention to the toll it has taken on everyone’s mental health — and use it as a reminder to regularly check in on our strong friends, whether they seem happy or not.
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Doing so doesn’t have to be awkward or confrontational. It can be as simple as going out for a cup of coffee and letting them do most of the talking. You may be amazed at how much they reveal when they’re given a chance! Or, instead of asking the generic, “How are you?” and receiving a vague reply, try intentional questions like, “How did that meeting with your boss go?” or “What is bringing you joy right now?”
The chances are good that if your strong friend is having a hard time, they won’t be obvious about it or bring it up on their own. So you may need to take your relationship a step further by getting deeper and creating a safe space for them to fall apart.
If they don’t want to talk right now, that’s OK too! Just make sure you’re ready with your own supply of tape and glue if it does happen.
Everyone goes through hard times, and everyone needs encouragement no matter how strong they may appear! Remember, support comes in many shapes and sizes, from letting them vent about everyday frustrations, to watching their favorite movie for the third time in a row, or giving them a listening ear on the other end of the phone. Whatever it is, show up for them in the same way they do for you!
Share this story to remind everyone to check on their strong friends now and always.
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