When someone you care about is struggling, it can be really difficult and you may experience a mix of emotions: concern, disbelief, anger, anxiety, compassion. This is normal and understandable.

Providing support to someone else can be draining, leaving you feeling exhausted. It is important to notice the impact of this on your own mental health and wellbeing. Before you can support them, you need to make sure you are supported and looking after yourself.

Know your limits - Be realistic about what support you can offer and try not to take on too much.

Get support - Talk to someone you trust or link in with the student counselling service.

Take a break - Make time to do something nice for yourself.

Listen - Listen more than you talk. Ask open ended questions, “how are you feeling?” to encourage them to talk.

Be there as someone they can trust - Let them know you care, spend time with them, chat over a cup of tea- avoid drugs and alcohol

Don’t assume you know what’s best for them - Everyone experiences life differently. Don’t try to “fix things”. Instead, ask your friend how they would like to be supported.

Normalise mental health - Talk about it. It’s ok not to be ok. Make sure your friend hears that.

Encourage them to get support - Make it ok to need help, offer to go with them to whatever support service they decide on.

Let them know you care - Having someone who knows what's happening, who takes, them seriously, and who is concerned can often be all the support a friend needs.

While it can be frustrating when someone you care about doesn’t want help, there are limits to what you can do. Try to be patient with them, be there, ready to help, but do not push them.

If you have talked to your friend and are still worried, it may be time to contact a family member and tell them your concerns. You can attend UL Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service during drop-in hours for yourself (Room CM 073, 10am-12noon) to talk through your concerns. Try and encourage your friend to come.

In an emergency call the Emergency Services on 112 or 999.

If you are at risk / suicidal please immediately contact either the crisis liaison mental health team at the University Hospital Limerick (061 301111) or your local hospital, or your GP immediately. 

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Student Emergency Contact Protocol