Expert on supporting someone going through change

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Side profile of a businessman sitting in a cubicle Purestock

MAJOR changes in life can happen to anyone.  We all have to face losing a job, retirement, having a baby or a relationship breakdown at some point in our lives.

When someone experiences a change in circumstances it is important to let them know they have support, beyondblue families project manager Luke Martin said.

"People can be quite good at hiding the fact that they're really struggling with a life transition. Instead of waiting for signs that your friend or relative is going through a tough time, it can be helpful to proactively check on them around major life events, such as becoming unemployed, the end of a relationship, becoming a parent," Dr Martin said.

"You don't have to try and solve their problems, just be there for them and help them access any further support if they need it."

Dr Martin said if people admitted they were struggling, it was important to listen in a non-judgmental way.

He also said people should expect to feel a range of emotions if they were facing a major life change.

"Feelings of loss, grief, sadness, disappointment, regret, anxiety, surprise, relief, excitement, joy are all common," Dr Martin said.

"Whether the change is self-directed or imposed on us can influence our emotional reaction and degree of readiness for that change."

For those with a history of depression or anxiety, life transitions are a risk time for further episodes, and proactively managing the stress that comes with change is important.

Dr Martin said signs that someone may not be handling change well included feeling overwhelmed by what they're facing to the point of inaction, problems sleeping, a change in appetite or a loss of confidence in their abilities.

For advice on financial support during times of change, go to Centrelink. For emotional concerns, talk to your GP, or phone beyondblue's support service on 1300 224 636.

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