Ask Jigsaw: Supporting my friends

All of my close friend have been through bad mental health. Some just took time off school to reboot, some to therapists , and some to cahms/st.pats. I’ve been there for all of them throughout the years. First one was age 9 to now. Some are doing good and some are going down the wrong path into drugs. One in particular who I’ve known for my whole life is now known as the ‘popular pretty girl who was in a mental hospital’. She’s now heavy on drugs and can’t go a few days without going out and taking more. I don’t know what to do it’s starting to eat me up inside and now I can see myself going down the same path as the others in terms of mental health.

I was the strong happy funny kind girl who everyone counted on and vented to but now it’s all getting too much and I can’t separate myself because they all need my help but I also can’t continue doing this because I’m slowly losing my mind. I’m going into 6th year now so I want school to be my number one concern but my friends are all good in a bad place and I need to be there for them so I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I’m making sense there’s so much more to it and my minds going crazy.

I just need advice on how to balance helping my friends , school , social life and my own mental health and prepare myself for 6th year.


Hi Butterfly,

It’s sounds like you are a really compassionate person and have been there for a lot of your friends over the years. While it is a nice to be able to support others, without a doubt it can take a toll on us. You may have heard the flight attendant on an airplane telling you to ‘look after your own mask first’. This is because, unless we prioritise looking after ourselves, we won’t have the capacity to be there for someone else. Looking after your own mental health is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Ask Jigsaw: Afraid to tell friends I’m bisexual

I am bisexual and I’m afraid to tell any of my friends because no one keeps secrets anymore. Also, I think I like two people of opposite sex at the same time. The boy I’ve been in love w for like three years but the girl makes me feel fluttery. Problem is that the girl is manipulative and lies but I get along w her really easily and she is also bi and she just makes me feel excited. Also she has kissed me before but she was drunk and I tried to push her away but she kept going so I let it happen and I kind of regretted it but I keep thinking about her and that night and I’m just really confused. But the boy is like my dream guy. Anon. 


Hi Anon,

It sounds like you are holding in a lot at the moment, thank you for sharing what is going on for you.

Friendships and mental health

Friends are a big part of our everyday lives. Having good friends can greatly increase our overall sense of wellbeing.

What is friendship?

There are different kinds of friendships. A good friend can make all the difference if you’re going through a rough time. Some friendships are supportive and others are about hanging out, banter and not so much sharing how you’re feeling. That’s OK.

Ask Jigsaw: How do I stop caring what other people think?

How do I stop caring what other people think if it’s taking over my life and ruining things for me


Hi Ktxxxx,

Most of us are concerned about what other people think of us to some extent or another at different times in our life. We want to feel accepted and that we belong and are liked for who we are.

Ask Jigsaw: Pain of losing a friend

Hi, I’m 15 years old and I’m in 3rd year. Last year I told my best friend whenever I felt suicidal. My parents said that I’d leaned too heavily on my best friend that she couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t allowed to speak to her anymore, I never actually got to speak to her after that. She started telling people why we weren’t friends anymore.

 I had a horrendous year trying to make new friends. I fell out with some and kept others. Now I have a group of friends who I love. But it doesn’t feel the same. I’m still going thro the pain of loosing her. Is there anything anyone can do to help? I just need advice. I want to talk to her one last time. To get closer. Please help if you can!

–Anonymous *Please note his question has been edited in length from the original submission

Hi there,

It can be really difficult when we fall out with a close friend, particularly if we feel that there have been misunderstandings or things that have been left unsaid. Within every situation that results in friends falling out, there are at least two perspectives on what has happened. Naturally, we tend to focus on our own perspective.  The pain of losing a friend and how it felt for us. We try to make sense of what happened in a way that fits with our own narrative.

It can be difficult to do, but if we can suspend our own version of events and try and view it from the other person’s perspective, without trying to argue our side it can help to give us a bit of insight into why they may be behaving in the way that they are. Understanding can help, even if we don’t agree with or condone it.

Ask Jigsaw: Fell out with a friend

Near the end of school last year I fell out with my friends, well one of them but then the rest took their side.

I have had little to no contact with them over the summer. I’ve tried to reach out to some in the group but nothing which is making me angry as well as depressed.

Hi there,

It’s really tough when you fall out with friends, particularly over the summer when often people don’t see each other as much as when they are in school. The lack of contact can lead us to feeling very alone and isolated.

Ask Jigsaw: Slagging affecting self-esteem

Hi, to whom ever reads this message, I dont know really where to begin with my question, but what im trying to find out is really where to do i go from here…like a lot of people out there i suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem issues and a lack of understanding of what path i should take in life. Making new friends is a lot harder then i feel it needs to be.

The friends whom i’ve known from secondary school are never short of contradicting me for anything i really do or say about 70% of the time. i think sometimes that this would be just casual banter with friends especially around lads as its “in our nauture”. or maybe its a lot more toxic then i realise. I have been left believing some of the things that are told to me like im slow or stupid.

Im not short of giving a response back too as I think its only fair to give them a taste of their own medicine. I’d never initiate abuse to anyone unless its given to me as i do try to be as sound as possible. Its only when we are in groups really that i feel most of the humour is only generated by the slagging of each other and when that does happen I tend to go quite in a group, this is when i feel my anxiety kicks in.

Id like to say that if im around some of my individual friends, im lucky enough to be able to talk about other things that are going on in my life and they do listen most of the time. So in a way i do care for my friends cause there arent many people who you can talk like that too. there would be others in the group whom i could defenitly not talk to because of issues i think they suffer themselves, which i understand.

What im asking really is do you have any advice on how i boost my self-esteem from a scenario like this, as well as trying to handle my anxiety as i know i can never get rid of it. these seem to be the bane of my existance and i just want to be able to be an adult and handle these things better.


Hi Lorence,

As you really nicely describe, navigating friendships can tricky, especially if we are dealing with challenges like anxiety and low self-esteem. It seems like you have come to realise that you don’t like some parts of your gang’s banter, particularly the slagging.

Assertive communication

Assertive communication means expressing ourselves in a direct, open and honest way that is respectful of other people.

It is about communicating our needs to another person and working towards ‘win-win’ solutions to avoid confrontation.

Imagine a seesaw where passive communication is on one side and aggressiveness on the other. Assertiveness is the neutral, level middle ground.

Using technology to support your mental health

We hear a lot about the downside of technology, and how we should try to spend less time on it. But the pros of technology have also become obvious.

Our need for connection and fun is still clear. Though at present, our usual routines have been disrupted and everything is a little bit out of sorts.

But we have to adapt to the way the world is now and reach out in ways that we can. We need to restructure how we do the things that help our mental health, and technology can help.

Jigsaw clinicians Vicky, Sarah, Valerija and Aoife discuss how they use technology to support their mental health during this time.

Ask Jigsaw: I want to help my friend but I don’t know what to do

A close friend of mine is going through a very tough time at the moment and I dont know what to do. Her parents wont help her get support because they dont understand what shes going through. I want to help her but I dont know what to do. She is willing to try a chat anonymously but I dont know where to find any number, can you help?


Hello Bumblebee,

It sounds like you and your friend have a very close relationship, and it’s great that she trusts you enough to share her problems with you. As she has not told many others, particularly her parents, it might feel like there is pressure for you to support her on your own. There are lots of things that you can do to support your friend. However, you are right to suggest that your friend gets help from others. Dealing with this on your own could lead you to feel a little stressed yourself, so do make sure you are looking after your own mental health.