We always talk about mates, but we don’t often talk about what it means to be one. Whether it’s a shoutout on Insta stories, a quick check-in text to the guy from football, or a great gif sent to the group chat, there are loads of ways to be a great mate. In fact, sometimes, stuff you don’t even realise you’ve done can make a massive difference.
CALM believes everyone should be able to ask for the help they need, but it’s not always easy. Our proper good team of ambassadors shared some ways their mates reached out when things were tough – so here’s some pointers.
Talking when you’re not doing so good is important. But sometimes, having a laugh and being distracted for a bit is a great way to focus on the good stuff you’ve got in your life. Like your mates.
Twitter Extraordinaire, Jonny Sharples shares his favourite distraction right now:
“In a group chat I’m in, my pals and I have been playing games of Higher or Lower based around which celebrities are charging for custom video messages on Cameo. It’s been a massive laugh, caused a few heated debates, but mostly – it has been taking our minds off things and giving us a reason to check in and chat with each other.”
Arlo Parks, musician and poet talks about an uplifting message from a friend:
Writer, producer and former footballer Marvin Sordell’s mate took his mind off things with a karaoke sesh:
“A really good example would be my friend Will noticing that my energy was low and not doing great in a car journey to training. He just started playing music and singing along really energetically for song after song before I eventually joined in too which actually helped to lift my mood and energy as well.”
A simple check-in text, an unexpected message, or a regular catch up is sometimes just the thing someone needs to lift their mood.
TV and radio presenter James Threlfall shares a meaningful message he received out of the blue:
“A while back a mate of mine (who might I add is usually ribbing me about one thing or another) messaged just to say that he’s super grateful for my friendship. Realistically, for him, it took two seconds to send, but it felt like something that we should all say more and made me realise just how much a simple message can mean to someone. Naturally, he was back taking the piss out of me minutes later.”
Singer and Rapper RKZ tells us about the benefits of regular catch-ups over Whatsapp:
“For me, work/life balance has wholly blurred to the point that I’m always on, not talking to people, and mentally exhausting myself – which has been exacerbated by the lockdown. Two friends, Luke and Mike, and I schedule random evening catchups via Whatsapp every couple of weeks that have provided a much needed respite for us all. We don’t actually talk about anything remotely important, and I think that’s why I really look forward to them.”
Seeing a loved one’s name appear on your screen, hearing their voice, and being able to have a good long chat can really help when things are a bit weird.
International mental wellbeing speaker, Leon McKenzie shares how much a call from a relative can mean:
“Many years ago having attempted to take my own life, my dad showed empathy and love but ultimately listened to me. Ever since that day, after waking up, he has called me most days and I always took those calls for granted before. This taught me a valuable lesson: Showing someone you care about them and are making an effort that can change your mindset forever. Thank you Dad.”
Mike Snelle, of The Connor Brothers shares how a call during a really hard time changed his life:
“Back in 2012, I was in a deep depression which ended up with me feeling suicidal. I was in a tiny hotel room and was mostly just trying to get through the night when, by chance, James phoned. That phone call ended up being a turning point in my life, and it was also the beginning of The Connor Brothers. I guess it goes to show that the simple act of checking in on someone can be more powerful than we can possibly expect.”
Giving advice and lending a listening ear is great. But sometimes getting practical suggestions can help set a mate on a good path.
Singer, songwriter and musician, Zak Abel, talks about the plan his pals put together to help him look forward positively:
If you’re worried about a mate, you can find a good way to help HERE.
At any point, if you feel someone’s life is at risk, stay with them and call 999.
If you or your mate are in need of immediate help, CALM’s helpline and webchat are open 5pm to midnight every day 0800 58 58 58.
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