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Supporting Friends through Difficult Times Summary: 05.12.2019

By Lorcan Jeffreys, Second Year Peer Navigator • 5 Dec 2019 • 0 comments

University is a hectic and often highly stressful place; everyone goes through difficult times, and seeing a friend who is struggling can be hard. This session helped me to reflect on how I have been as a friend when others are having tough times, and what I could do going forward. The attendees were split into two groups, and each one guided by a psychiatrist to look at an example of a situation where it could be important, or difficult to offer support. We discussed what would be the best approach, as well as what may be less helpful. Both groups then fed back to each other. It was extremely useful to learn from my peers and the professionals, and to be able to take a view of speaking to a friend with more clarity than when you are in the midst of a conversation. It is vital to make sure that one is not pushy, listens, and asks open questions; you are not there to provide all the answers. The importance of signposting friends to services was also emphasised, because although one may want to help and be available, taking on all of someone's concerns can be too much for one person. Overall, I found the session both informative and useful as a tool for reflection.

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