Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo of The Mercer Cluster
Sunday, Jun 16, 2024
Interested in Working for the Cluster? Ask about joining our Discord!

How to help a friend who’s just had a mental breakdown

Rahna Beak, Hanna Warren, and Elizabeth Kim embrace each other on a warm, sunny day.
Rahna Beak, Hanna Warren, and Elizabeth Kim embrace each other on a warm, sunny day.

Maybe all your finals are open-note. Maybe your parents just randomly sent you shopping money. Maybe you’re an underclassman and have a place to live on campus. But, maybe you have a friend that’s not as blessed and highly favored.

In college, you’ll meet people that are doing financially, academically, socially or overall mentally worse than you are. They just might happen to be your best friends. There might be one day where they erupt at you out of nowhere with all the problems they might be going through. Some of them you probably have never experienced before.

When your friend is going through a mental breakdown, you don’t need to pretend and say “I feel you” after every sentence. Do this instead.


  1. Make time for them      

Our schedules can be busy, so we don’t always have time to meet up with someone during the week. But, take some time out of your day to call your friend. Don’t call them to offer advice or anything. Just listen to them. Let them know that you’re available to listen. And at first, your friend might not want to talk. The phone call might just be intermittent periods of silence. That is totally fine. Sometimes we just need a presence. A reminder that someone is there and that someone does care.

  1. Take them out to eat

When you do get a chance to meet up with your pal, take them out to eat. Who doesn’t love food? If you’re low on money or watching your caloric intake, split a meal at the restaurant you go to. Just make sure what you’re ordering is something your friend doesn’t have the luxury of eating all the time.

  1. Go do something new together

Back when I had my first mental breakdown, going to class was the last thing I really wanted to do. If I did go, I’d be mentally absent. I just wanted to curl up in bed and sleep for the entire day. But, doing something different and distracting to get me out of what felt like a leech-sucking environment helped me get back on track.

Spring break was cute and all, but sometimes we need an actual break that doesn’t remind us of school period. Go to a probate, travel somewhere new downtown, watch a new series together. Relax with your pal by doing something new and exciting.

  1. Give them something

If you haven’t gotten the gist, surprises can be huge mood changers. Treat your friend to his/her favorite coffee and donut combo. If you don’t have a car and have a few dining dollars to spare, stop by a P.O.D and grab them a snack. Sure it’s not much, but the thought that you’re thinking about them is refreshing.

If you’re incredibly awful at buying things, like myself, you can’t go wrong with social media. Tag them in a funny meme or video. My favorite people to watch on social media are Desi Banks, Kev Onstage and AphricanApe. Check out those channels if you don’t already know them. You might also come across uplifting posts on Instagram that tell you to tag someone you know that needs to hear a certain message—tag them!

College is rough. We have all of these expectations for us with little money and time. But, what makes it more difficult is the idea of having no one rooting for us. We all have acquaintances—people we talk to just for the sake of convenience— but you have the power to be a true friend, a supportive shoulder and a listening ear, especially in these final hours of the year.

Good luck with finals!

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Mercer Cluster, Mercer University