I am worried about a friend

You must listen to yourself. If you are worried about someone else, you should act on it – you cannot count on the other person to do it themselves, or that others have seen that the person is not doing well. And if it turns out you were wrong? It can never be wrong to worry about each other – and better one time too many than one time too few.

A study carried out by the Mary Foundation’s Think Tank shows that young Danes really do want to help each other. They just think that it can be difficult to know if the other person wants help, or to know what they can do to help.

In Netwerk we say that it is important to show others that one is thinking about them – and that one gets involved when one is worried. If you are worried about a classmate, it is okay to tell him or her. You can take a point of departure in what you have experienced. If the case is that a classmate keeps to him or herself too much during recess, it is okay to say:

“Hey xxx, I can’t help but notice that you don’t come to the class parties. I hope you know that you are always very welcome, if you want to come.” Or: “I think you have seemed a bit sad lately – is there any truth to that?”

If the person begins to talk about what is wrong, it is important you remember three things:

  • You are never responsible for solving others’ problems.
  • Listen – it is far more important to listen than to try to provide good advice.
  • Help to find good help. You can make a big difference by listening, but you cannot replace professional help, and you should not be alone with the responsibility. Help your classmate down to a student counselor or to a teacher who the person trusts.

If you do not yourself want to ask your classmate if something is wrong, that is also ok. You can share your concern with a teacher or a student counselor who can approach your classmate. To tell a sincere worry to someone who can do something about it is not gossip, it is lending a helping hand.

I want to help others

If you would like to help others, there are good opportunities to do so. A great number of young people do volunteer work where they, outside of school, work without pay to help others. It can, for example, be work in sports clubs, cultural groups,  or in volunteer social organizations like Ventilen.

Many young people partake in volunteer work because it is fun, and because they become part of a network.

Some do it as a part of personal development, because you learn a lot about yourself when you help others, and some young people use it to develop concrete skills within a particular area.

One thing is certain – it looks good on a CV when one has participated in volunteer work.

Here you can find different opportunities to look for volunteer jobs: www.frivilligjob.dk og vollunteering.dk