I have a friend who has a relative who is terminally ill. My friend is doing her best to stay positive, but I can tell she’s really stressed and miserable on the inside. How can I help her out? – Jess

It can be really tough when you see a friend going through a rough time, no matter what is going on for them. In particular, when a relative is terminally ill.

There are a few things you can try to support your friend. The most important one is to just be there for her. If you can, it might help to distract your friend, go for a walk, get her out of the house or perhaps you could suggest she call/text/email or chat online with Youthline. You could suggest she talk to a counsellor about how she’s feeling.  You could offer to help them make phone calls, or go with them to get support.

Just be there for your friend, to listen and provide support. Let her know you understand that she is going through a hard time and that you will be there if she wants to talk.

Do your best to maintain contact with her. Visit, call, chat online and text. It’s important she doesn’t feel like she’s on her own with this.

Remember to know your limits, too. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it won’t be enough to make her feel okay – and that’s okay. People deal with this stuff in their own time and in their own way. It’s also important to find support for yourself, too. It’s really good to get some support for yourself so you don’t feel alone in supporting your friend.


Thanks to Youthline for providing answers to Dear Tearaway questions. Need to talk? You can get in touch with Youthline by phone, text, e-mail, or webchat. Visit youthline.co.nz for all the details.