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Safer Internet Centre

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Looking out for friends online this World Mental Health Day

As people are spending more and more time online, many will turn to social media to express their feelings or will be where they go to when facing a tough time. This World Mental Health Day (10th October 2016) we have create a list of what to do if you are concerned about a friend online.

The Samaritans have created a guide to helping someone online to help you with what to do if you’ve noticed that someone you know online is going through a tough time.

Look out for the warning signs

More and more people use the internet to express how they’re feeling, this can be through status updates, videos, photos, posts and messages.

People who are struggling to cope often feel negative about themselves and suffer from feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and isolation. Phrases to watch out for include:

  • I want to give up
  • No-one would notice if I wasn’t here
  • I hate myself

Read more information on what to look out for if you’re worried about someone.

Remember that it's ok to not know all the answers:

You don’t have to know all of the answers to your friend’s worries, you just have to be willing to listen and show you care. Send them a message, give them a visit or encourage them to talk to someone about what they’re going through, just be there to reassure them that it’s okay to ask for help.

Tell someone

If you think a friend is feeling suicidal or might need help, please contact Samaritans, who are available round the clock, every single day of the year. You can reach Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

You can also find out other ways of contacting Samaritans.

Further advice and support

Visit for advice about young people’s mental health, including their parent helpline (0808 802 5544).

Visit for advice about eating disorders, including their online community.

Visits if you need to talk to someone. Plus see their guide about helping a friend who might be struggling to cope, which they launched with Facebook.

If you work with young people, and you need some advice or support about any online issue, you can contact the UK Safer Internet Centre helpline.