Last week, the news that both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had died by suicide sparked a conversation about mental health and how we can help support the people in our lives who might be going through a difficult time. One of the best ways to do that is to get in touch with someone directly to see if they need to talk, want to hang out, or just need someone who will sit beside them. But reaching out to check in on someone who struggles with their mental health might feel awkward at first — and that's okay.
"It’s normal, healthy, and natural to be uncomfortable in approaching a friend who’s in distress," says Kevin Chapman, PhD, a member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). "You’re confronting a strong emotion — your anxiety — by reaching out to a friend who’s struggling and in need."
But if you can push past that awkwardness, it might be easier than you think. And while you're not responsible for someone's emotional state, a little support can go a long way.
Ahead, we've outlined some tips for how to reach out to someone in your life who might be having a hard time managing their mental health.