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You Got a Friend in Me

Friendship is a crucial component of our mental health and overall well-being. Having supportive and caring friends can provide us with a sense of belonging, a source of comfort and joy, and a strong support system during challenging times. Being a good friend to others can also help us in our own mental health journey, as serving others can often foster positivity within ourselves.  

When we have friends who truly understand us, accept us for who we are, and stand by us through thick and thin, it can significantly impact the direction of our lives.  Having a strong support system, even if that is only one person, can make the biggest difference in our experience. Friends can offer different perspectives and advice, while also providing emotional support when we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. One of my best friends and I get together once every few months, and just laugh about all the things we stress about as if we were still in college.  

Friendship also plays a significant role in combating loneliness and feelings of isolation. Having friends to share our experiences, thoughts, and feelings with can help us feel more genuinely connected and less alone in our experiences. I reached out to several old friends from my hometown to rekindle friendships that were once meaningful to me. Just by having Facetime dates, this connection has brought me much more joy and clarity in my life. Fostering strong friendships can also boost our self-esteem and confidence, as we feel valued and appreciated by those who care about us. 

Furthermore, friendships can help us cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. The companionship that comes with having friends can help distract us from negative thoughts and emotions and provide a sense of comfort and reassurance during difficult times. It can also keep us connected to who we are at the root. Finding friends who allow me to be myself around them has helped me embrace myself and where I came from. Remember, you don’t need to have a large group of friends either. Just finding one person to truly develop a strong connection with can enrich your life in a plethora of ways.  

However, it’s important to remember that friendships are a two-way street. Just as we rely on our friends for support, we must also be willing to offer the same level of care and support in return. Being a good friend means being a good listener, showing empathy and compassion, and being there for our friends when they need us. Make sure you dedicate quality time to your friends when you are together, leaving the distractions of life at the door.  

Friendship is essential for our mental health, our social skills, and our overall well-being. Cultivating strong and supportive friendships can enrich our lives, provide us with companionship and emotional support, and help us navigate life’s challenges. Having a small group of close friends has honestly been one of the most valuable things in my life. So, reach out to your friends, get together a few times a year for dinner, cherish the time and relationships that you have, and remember that you are not alone in this world. 

Ashlee Zaragoza, Outreach Coordinator

Ashlee Zaragoza is an Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Leadership from UNO in December of 2022. Ashlee has previous experience in leadership, management, hospitality and training development. Ashlee’s life experiences and passion for suicide prevention and mental health advocacy brought her to The Kim Foundation as a volunteer in May 2023. Ashlee’s passion for people has driven her into this role where she will be a supportive resource and compassionate voice for those affected by suicide and mental health. She currently focuses on outreach through presentations, events, and community initiatives.