My Friend is Depressed. How Do I Help?

This is a common question that I get when people realize that this has been a life long struggle for me. I often hear from genuinely concerned friends or family members who are afraid their loved ones may not be doing so well. In today’s thinks I want to share with you some ways to be a positive help for your friend.

Please note that I am not referring to suicide specifically. If you feel that your loved one is suicidal or a danger to themselves or others, please call authorities immediately.

Suicide hotline USA
1-800-273-8255

You are not “just an acquaintance”

I often hear this from those that are concerned. They may say something like,

“I knew her in high school, but I don’t really know her that well”
or
“They’re just my co-worker, so I don’t want to impose”

While there are personal boundaries you should respect (There is a point that it can be overbearing rather than helpful), there is nothing wrong with sending a kind message or asking if someone is alright. A kind text could make a world of difference in someone’s day.

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Don’t pretend everything is “fine”

You never want to jump to conclusions. However, if you know there are obvious signs something is not ok, say something.
It doesn’t have to be,
Well I noticed you haven’t showered lately” or “Your tissues are causing a mess in the break room“, but a simple “Are you doing ok?” or “Want to grab coffee sometime?” will do.

Letting someone know you care in the simplest way could mean the world to them. I don’t know how many times I have been one text away from completely loosing it, and someone sent me something encouraging at just the right time.

It’s ok to ask if something’s wrong

The biggest fear we probably have is coming across as “annoying” or “nosey”. But you will know in your heart when you should say something and ask if someone is ok. Just remember that you are asking if they are ok for their well-being regardless of the response you get.

If they do not offer any information to you, you also need to respect this as well. They are not obligated to share with you anything. You are simply extending a hand if they want to respond to your concerns.*

*Disclaimer
As I mentioned earlier, if you know that someone is possibly a threat to themselves or anyone else, call for help immediately. 

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“Hinting” at it is not enough

Depending on how far you get in your conversation, your dialogue may go past “Are you ok?”. Respecting the other person’s boundaries, if they offer you information or say they need a listening ear, make sure that you let them know you are concerned for them. It can be extremely difficult to be straight forward about things such as depression. But I am forever grateful for the people who were straight forward out of concern for me.

Ultimately it is important that you speak and act out of love always. We are all people living on the same planet together. It will never be “someone else’s job” to care for someone. The person to the left and right of you are your brothers and sisters regardless of their background. It takes every day people like you and me to love and let others feel loved.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s thinks! Let me know in the comments below what you think about what we talked about today! See you soon!
Joy

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