How can I tell if a friend is struggling?


Sometimes we notice right away if a friend is struggling or is very overwhelmed by a situation. Other times it may be less obvious, but if we know the warning signs to look out for, we can reach out to help them get the support they need.


Warning signs that your friend may need help


Your friend is withdrawing from and losing interest in activities they used to enjoy. You’ve noticed that they make excuses for not meeting up over a coffee or avoid the weekly sporting event. They may also start neglecting other obligations like turning up to work on time.

Mood swings

Your friend gives an emotional outburst that seems completely out of proportion to the situation. For example, they get really angry over a small criticism or cry on a regular basis. You notice dramatic shifts in their mood and feelings.


Your friend may be taking longer than usual to make decisions, worrying too much about things, or having trouble concentrating. You may notice that they are unusually anxious and fearful.


Your friend is expressing constant feelings of hopelessness. They might be saying things like: “What’s the point? Things always end up bad.” They may feel stuck in a situation and can’t imagine that things will get better.

Physical changes

You are noticing changes in your friend’s appearance. For example, a change in weight or they have less energy than usual. They may complain about feeling tired all of the time or sleeping too much or too little. They are no longer taking care of their hygiene.


If you have noticed some of these signs, talk to the person to tell them you’re concerned.

If you think the person may be suicidal, call our Suicide Call Back Service counsellors on 1300 659 467 for professional advice.

For more information, you can read our article on starting the conversation and recognising suicide warning signs.

If it is an emergency, please call 000.