Picture your friend group. Is it high school friends? College friends? Is the group big? Is it small? How close are your relationships with each of the people in the group? Are you closer with some of them and not as connected with others? Do you genuinely consider them all "good friends?"
Now, think about everyone's personality. How do they differ? How are they alike? Are there any qualities that you deem "negative" in any of them? What might those "negative" qualities be in this person? Are they too quiet? Uptight? Clingy? Always tired? Easily irritated? Anxious?
Although some may find these qualities annoying at times, they're often a signal of deeper mental or emotional trauma-- and we need to learn how to recognize that.
In the wake of Demi Lovato's scare from overdose and Mac Miller's death from overdose, people far and wide have released their own thoughts to the social media world about "checking in on your friends." Although it's said with good intentions, the root of depression, addiction, and other mental health issues goes far deeper than getting an "are you okay?" text from a friend.
I'm certainly not trying to undermine the effort of texting a friend and checking in on them if they seem off...however, educating ourselves on mental health issues and how they're displayed in people is extremely important if we really want to make a difference and help our friends or anyone else that we may think is struggling. It will set you apart from being someone who just "checks in."
Oh, and by education, I don't mean Googling "symptoms of depression." Mental health is becoming a more prevalent issue, but it's still not recognized as something pressing in the eyes of many-- and that's due to lack of education. High schools and colleges nationwide should have a class requirement that covers mental health--the types, the signs, and how to handle it. I'm certain that students wouldn't dread taking it, honestly, they'd probably enjoy it and find it useful in their own lives.
If something such as this was implemented, I believe that positive change would come about. Maybe not all at once, but slowly, people would be able to recognize the signs and take the appropriate steps to get that person the help they need.
So, before you decide to "check in on your friends," you should know what you're seeing in them, why you think it's something to be worried about, how you will express your thoughts to your friend, and what steps you'll recommend he or she takes next. Being knowledgeable about it will validate the importance to your friend of getting help.
Educate yourself about your friend and loved ones. Don't let the evils of addiction and mental health tear down someone close to you. Do your part.