Start the conversation.
With all the added stress of COVID-19, it’s important to check-in on the mental health of those we care about.
Social isolation, new daily routines, and ongoing worries about COVID-19 are adding a new set of stressors to everyone’s lives. For men who don’t often talk about their stress or emotions, these additional stressors can easily become overwhelming – this is where friends and family members can step in to make a big difference.
Here are some tips to help you support a guy you care about.
The first step is recognizing the key signs of stress that indicate a guy could use support. The more of these you notice, the more likely your reaching out could be a huge help.
COVID-19 is affecting everyone, and it’s important your friend knows that he is not alone in feeling stressed. Here are some examples of ways to open up the conversation.
If the guy pushes back and doesn’t want to start the conversation, or quickly changes the subject, that is okay – he may not be ready to talk. You can reinforce that you’re there for him by saying something like:
This way your friend will at least know that you are a person he can talk to when he’s ready – and simply knowing this can help ease the weight off a guy’s shoulders.
Our Stress Management page has a lot of solid practical tips and advice that can help him to work on his stress. Show him our site directly or send him a link through a message or email.
We’ve also been adding new content to help guys deal with the stress of COVID-19. Check out our COVID-19 Hub for our new articles and other resources.
Another useful resource is this free online course put together by a Professor of Psychology at The University of Toronto: Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19.
If the guy you know is struggling and his stress is affecting his daily life, it’s time for him to reach out for professional support. Meeting (virtually) with a doctor or talking to a therapist are both great options.
Try saying something like:
During these times, with everyone trying to stay indoors as much as possible, it’s easy for people to withdraw further from society and isolate themselves. In order to help your friend combat this, it’s important to follow up and check in on his health.
This can mean sending a message once a day or every other to ask what he’s been up to, or scheduling weekly or bi-weekly video calls. Even though it’s not the same as seeing someone in person, when possible video calls are a great way to see and hear each other, and feel better connected.
All the uncertainty about potential treatments or vaccines for COVID-19 adds another layer of stress to this situation. Because timelines for these are more measured in months and not days, maintaining the restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can seem daunting.
Remind your friend that even though things are tough now – take each day, each hour, each moment at a time and this will eventually pass.
We will return to work, we will be able to stop physical distancing, we will be able to hug our friends and family again.
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