Ask Sam letter

Asker

To Sam

Is it always right to help someone?

Hiya Sam,

I constantly help others. When people are feeling down and close to their edge, they always seem to message me to help them. They think im some amazing person who will be able to save them from their mental state.

I used to sit up all night messaging this friend who had enough and i felt so much pressure. I couldnt handle it.

The reality of it is though is that I cant save myself from my own. Those people who ask me for help and come to me with tears in their eyes, walk awayS when i sit there crying. They dont care about me even though they constantly say they do.

Is it good to help people even if it is affecting your mental state?

(I dont know whether this would be an important topic to cover)

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there

Helping others can be rewarding but it can also be draining if people ask for your help too often. It’s okay to set a limit to how much you can help. Learning to say no when you feel overwhelmed is difficult but something you may need to learn to do.

Helping others is a positive thing. It can help build your own self-esteem and feel good about yourself. But you need to take care of yourself as well. Putting yourself first might sound selfish but if your energy levels are too low you won’t be able to help. It’s all about recognising what you can manage and what is too much.

Being assertive can help you to set healthy boundaries with other people. Let them know that you need to take care of yourself and suggest they get support from other people too. If you’re worried about their safety you can always tell a trusted adult. Sometimes other people’s problems are more serious and they might need professional help from a doctor or an ambulance. It’s always okay to get help for someone in an emergency and that might mean calling 999 or asking an adult to call for you. Remember: you’re not responsible for what someone else feels or for the actions they take.

Everyone needs time to themselves and a break when they’re supporting someone else. You could make sure that there are times when you’re not available. Try turning your phone off or logging out of social media. Doing things you enjoy and getting a good night’s sleep can help you feel refreshed and more able to cope.

Helping a friend or a family member who has a mental health problem can be especially draining and it’s important you get support as well. You could ask someone you trust or a Childline counsellor to listen so that you can share how you’re feeling and some of the difficulties you’re facing.

Remember, taking care of yourself is always the right thing to do and I’m really glad that you sent me this letter.

Take care,

Sam

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