How can you help someone who is going through a break-up and when should you seek professional help?
Generally, wait to be asked for help before plowing in, unless you think the person is in real trouble - the idea of doing everything you can to 'save' a friend in need disn't always a good one! If the pain they're going through is 'normal,' just your presence will be a comfort to them. However, if there are deeper issues or medical problems, there's little you can do but encourage them to get help. Try and help your friend to come to the conclusion she needs professional help herself, because your advice and comfort isn't doing anything - and don't be offended if she needs more than what you can give her. If you get offended and stop being there for her she'll only feel even more alone than she already does.
What can you do to help someone who just can't get over a break-up?
If she can't manage on her own, she needs professional help from a doctor, psychiatrist or counsellor. Helplines can also be useful, because sometimes its easier to talk about relationships over the phone rather than face to face with your doctor, for example. There are plenty of anonymous helplines that can provide excellent advice or just a listening ear. Psychiatrists will also operate outside the usual context, over the phone and via house calls, in some cases, as well as at your surgery or clinic.
Some useful numbers and addresses:
Samaritans 08457 909090
Confidential help for anyone who is experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.
Face-to-face advice, relationship counselling, sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support.
Mental health helplines:
Mind 020 8519 2122
Depression Alliance 020 7633 0557