How to Help a Friend in Crisis: A Conversation with the TAD Project Founder, Ben Greiner
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” - John Lennon
The TAD Project’s founder, Ben Greiner, had his future mapped out as a teenager: he was all set to play college ice hockey. However, those plans fell through, leading Greiner to experience what he calls “a kind of identity crisis. I didn’t feel like I had purpose [without] achieving a childhood goal.” Eventually, he was able to play hockey at a different college, but this meant having to reframe his dream and be flexible to changing circumstances. Greiner, who graduated from college in 2018, now seeks to help others going through a similar struggle: “I speak [now] to athletes and [you have to] see yourself as more than that.”
It was during Greiner’s college years that TAD Project found its beginnings. A close friend, someone with whom Ben had shared dreams of athletic achievement, was struggling. “I knew things were happening in my friend’s life,” says Greiner, “it was the ending of our sports career as we knew it.” Although the pair shared feelings of disappointment and sadness, Greiner’s friend was exhibiting behaviors that Greiner had never seen before: once open and energetic during conversations, Ben’s friend was more withdrawn and seemed to have a more negative outlook on life. Once looking forward to the future, Ben heard his friend express uncharacteristic hopelessness. Ben realized his friend needed additional support, and Ben himself needed additional resources as a support system. Thus, he created the TAD Project, whose mission “is to help friends and family find the right mental health help through stories, digital tools, and micro-learning.” Below, we highlight some resources provided by both TAD and MentalHealth.gov to help you start the conversation with and offer support to a loved one in need.
Warning signs that you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental health problem, as explained by the TAD Project:
Once you understand the warning signs and identify that a loved one may be struggling, here are some ways to start a conversation with them, as detailed by MentalHealth.gov:
If you need help finding the actual words for your conversation, here are some ideas for what to say, provided by MentalHealth.gov:
Finally, here are some important reminders considerations for your conversation, from MentalHealth.gov:
Have you had one of these conversations before? Conversely, has someone had one of these conversations with you? We would love to hear what worked, what did not, and if you have any additional suggestions for how to have these important conversations.
For more insight on Ben’s story, work, and The TAD Project, you can listen to his interview on Scoot, available wherever you listen to podcasts. Here is the Spotify link:
How to Help a Friend in Crisis with TAD Founder - Ben Greiner - Scoot | Podcast on Spotify
Learn more about our organization: http://www.scootyfund.org. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Learn more about The TAD Project: The TAD Project
You can follow both TAD and Ben Greiner on Instagram: