spot a bro WHO’S feeling low

It can often be tricky spotting a friend who’s struggling. This page will provide you with some useful approaches and suggestions.


Helping a friend is easy when you know how. Follow these four steps to let the conversation flow.

1 Ask

Start by mentioning anything different you’ve noticed. Maybe he’s spending more time at the bar, coming into work late, or missing social events.

“You’ve not quite seemed yourself recently. Are you okay?”

Trust your instinct. Remember, we often say “I’m fine” when we’re not. So if you think something’s wrong, don’t be afraid to ask twice.

2 Listen

Try to give him your full attention, without interruptions. Don’t feel you have to diagnose problems, offer solutions or give advice. Just let him know you’re all ears, judgement-free.

Follow-up questions are good too. They’ll help let him know you’re listening:

“That can’t be easy. How long have you felt that way?”​

3 encourage

Help him focus on simple things that might improve how he feels. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped him in the past – it’s worth asking.

Suggest that he share how he’s feeling with others he trusts. This will make things easier for both of you. And if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest that he chat to his doctor.

4 Check-In

Suggest you catch up soon – in person if you can. If you can’t manage a meet-up, make time for a call, or drop him a message. This helps to show that you care; plus, you’ll get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better.



Spot a friend in need

Is your friend acting out of character? Here are a few things to look out for. Download PDF

Let the convo flow

Tackle the bigger conversations, with help from our step-by-step guide. Download PDF

Further help & contacts

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Works to cover all aspects of mental health and wellbeing to keep people mentally well though free information and training.

The Lowdown

Provides information for young New Zealanders on depression and advice on how to deal with it.

Provides information to help New Zealanders recognise and understand depression.