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As a mate

You’d always ask a mate how they were feeling if they’d pulled a muscle or were out for a couple of weeks with a broken bone. Asking how they’re feeling if they seem stressed or down is exactly the same.

Spot the Signs

Awareness is the first step. Here’s how you can spot the signs in those around you:

Changes in performance

Look for any unusual dips in training or playing performance.

Behavioural Shifts

Notice if someone is acting out of character, either more withdrawn or aggressive.

Physical Cues

Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue, restlessness, or any changes in appearance that seem out of the ordinary.

Emotional Signals

Be attentive to language that indicates hopelessness or a lack of purpose.

Tips for having a conversation

Knowing how to start a conversation when you’re worried about a mate can be tough. The tips below are a good place to start to help make having a conversation easier for both of you:

  • Pick a place that is quiet to chat
  • Make sure you have the time set aside if they do want to talk
  • Listen hard to what they’re saying, save any advice for later
  • Show they have your full attention by not fiddling with your phone or doing other things
  • Try asking open-ended questions such as “How are you feeling?”, “What makes you think that?”, “Can you describe that a little more?”


Find out how to check in on your mates using the ALEC model here.

The next step is to support them to get help if they need it. 

Support them to get through

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If you or your friend think they need help with how they’re feeling, talk to them about the possibility of asking for help. You could suggest they talk to a family member, a coach, their GP or someone they trust.

They could also look at the list of support people we have on the site who they can contact if they feel uncomfortable talking to someone they know. See that list here.

If the first person doesn’t work, then help them to find another. You can find a lot of different information and helpful tips on this website that will make things a little easier for them, as well as helping you understand more too.