Two men sitting side-by-side.

Spot The Signs

Do you have a friend who's been avoiding social situations? Gone MIA on social media? Getting easily frustrated? Or just generally acting out of character?

It may be a sign they are struggling. Changes in behaviour can be a sign of poor mental health. If you spot a friend whose behaviour is out of character, that’s your sign to check in with them.

How to spot the signs

Signs that someone could be in distress might include:

  • Not sleeping
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Forgetting grooming (no clean clothes, not showering or brushing teeth)
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Missing social or sports events
  • Going quiet on social media or messaging apps
  • Being more irritable than usual
  • Talking of death and dying or increased hopelessness

If you spot a friend whose behaviour is out of character, it's important to check in with them - it might just save their life.

Dr Zac Seidler, Global Director of Men’s Health Research at Movember
Photo of ChrisMD smiling.
Dr Zac Seidler, Global Director of Men’s Health Research at Movember

Each year we witness the toll of silent suffering, and it’s obvious that something needs to change.

We all have a role to play in preventing suicide, and it starts with recognising the signs of poor mental health in those around us.

It's often small changes in behaviour that can signal someone in real distress. Reaching out and checking in, can make all the difference, in fact, it might just save their life.

How to check in with your friends

Asking, listening and being there for your friends can be lifesaving. In four steps, ALEC helps you navigate a conversation with someone who might be struggling. Ask, listen, encourage action and check in — it's that simple.

Huge thanks to R U OK? for developing the ALEC model.


Start by asking how they’re feeling. It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on: have they stopped replying to texts? Do they sound different on the phone? Have they gone quiet in the group chat?

Use a prompt like, "You haven’t seemed yourself lately – are you feeling OK?”

Trust your instinct. Remember, people often say "I'm fine" when they’re not, so don't be afraid to ask twice.


Give them your full attention. Let them know you’re hearing what they’re saying and you’re not judging. You don’t have to diagnose problems or offer solutions, but asking questions lets them know you’re listening.

Ask a question like: "That can't be easy – how long have you felt this way?"


Help them focus on simple things that might improve how they feel. Are they getting enough sleep? Are they exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped them in the past – it’s worth asking.

Suggest that they share how they’re feeling with others they trust. This will make things easier for both of you. And if they’ve felt low for more than two weeks, suggest they chat to their doctor.


Follow up your conversation with a phone call or FaceTime. This helps to show that you care; plus, you’ll get a feel for whether they’re feeling any better.

Taking the stigma out of mental health for men

A man on his phone.
Spot The Signs

Men are just as likely as anyone to struggle with their mental health, but less likely to get the help they need.

There are some important steps you can take to take the stigma out of mental health conversations with men.

Keep reading

How to talk to someone who has their guard up

A man sitting on the couch playing video games, looking deflated.
Spot The Signs

Talking about mental health can be difficult, especially when the other person has their guard up. It’s important to meet them where they are.

There are several things you can do (and a few things you shouldn’t do) to help someone lower their guard and open up.

Get tips

Check in with a friend without making it weird

A man at a party with a slight smile.
Spot The Signs

Checking in is one of the simplest, but often most powerful things we can do as a friend.

When you do check in, start small, keep the stakes low, and do everything you can to make them feel comfortable opening up.

See more

Sharpen your conversation skills

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Movember Conversations

Movember Conversations is an interactive tool for those who want to feel more confident and informed when navigating an important conversation. It walks you through the kind of conversational prompts and responses that help to open up a conversation and keep it flowing meaningfully.

Feeling low or overwhelmed?

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If you're feeling low or overwhelmed, don't ignore it. Reach out for support. Movember's local support links can help connect you with the right service provider.