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Common Advice

The Common Advice panel of professionals answered your questions on how to support a young person dealing with difficult situations in their lives or experiencing distress. The Common Advice blog is currently closed for questions, but you can get in touch with the Mental Health Foundation, Youthline or Skylight for support with your situation.

Dealing with Friends with Mental Illness

Sam (Friend) 27 Apr '17

I was wondering how I could deal with my friends that are severely depressed/suicidal. For instance - what to say to them when they get in a mood, and also how to deal with it on my end?

My best friend is severely clinically depressed, and she talks to me about her problems and I try make her feel better but it really stresses me out and seems to be taking quite an emotional toll on me, and don't know how to handle it to be honest. And recently an old friend of mine who I haven't talked to in years rang me tonight very drunk by himself and crying, telling me about how his life is awful and he's depressed and he doesn’t know what to do etc. This sort of thing happens to me a lot, if I can get some advice on how to help them and how to handle myself so I’m not affected too much. Because it is very draining and I’m feeling my mental health start to suffer because of it.


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Christmas and Family

Worried Friend (Friend) 20 Dec '16

Hi there, I am 14 years old. My friend's parent's have just split up and she's feeling really down about the holidays coming up. I'm worried about how she's going to handle this first Christmas and she seems really worried about splitting time between her parents. What can I do to help her get through this Christmas so she doesn't feel so down?

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Grief and Loss

Worried Friend (Friend) 03 Oct '16

"Hi, I am a 15-year- old that lives in Rangiora. One of my best friends has always been really close with her nana, but her nana just passed away over the weekend. I knew her nana but not really well. She’s really upset, and I don’t know how to help her because I’ve never lost someone close to me. I don’t know what to say to make it better, or even just how to help her. What should I say?"

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Divorce in the Family

Worried Parent/Grandparent (Grandparent) 06 Sep '16

"My son is going through a difficult time with his divorce. He is drinking more and more every day and I’m worried about him and the effect his drinking is having on my grandchildren who are 13 and 15 years old. I don’t know how or if they are coping with everything that’s going on. I don’t want them to start drinking too, but I just don’t know what to say to them. Please help."

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Cultural Identity

Anonymous (Friend) 15 Aug '16

"I'm a year 13 student and I've been worried about my boyfriend for a while. I think he's having some troubles. He's half Samoan and half Pakeha and I've seen him treated differently from both sides because of it. When I go to church with him I notice that he isn't treated like the rest of his mates, and at school he doesn't really have a friend group he sticks with. I'm South African but I've lived here forever, and I get what it's like to be treated like you're different. I've tried to talk to him about it but he just gets angry and shuts down saying he doesn't want to talk. I don't know what to do. How can I help?"

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