10 Ways to Assist a Friend Suffering from Depression

Anyone may be affected by depression. Despite this, it is also a disease that many people are unfamiliar with. People are much more open to mental disorders than they used to be. And so, mental wellbeing continues to be stigmatized. Many people are afraid to talk about their depression because of the stigma attached to it. It can be difficult to know how to support a friend who is suffering from depression.

1. Self-Education

If you want to support someone with depression, the first step is to educate yourself about the condition. It can be difficult to empathize with someone who is depressed if you have never experienced depression. There are several excellent tools available on the internet. So, do some homework and you’ll be much more prepared to assist and encourage your mate.

2. Take It Seriously

Depression is not a condition that can be overcome. One good night out, for example, will not solve the problem. When speaking with someone who is depressed, avoid making light of the situation. Depression is a severe medical condition. Asking a depressed person to “cheer up” or “pull themselves together” and “get over it” would not help them.

3. Become a Good Listener

People who are depressed often feel alone. They can believe they have no one to whom they can express their concerns. You can tell someone you have a bad cold and they can sympathize with you. However, it is difficult for a depressed person to express their feelings. Be there for your friend and let them speak for themselves. Encourage them to chat about their disease, but don’t try to solve their problems right away. The most important thing you can have is your support.

4. Encourage them to seek help

If an individual is severely depressed, they should seek professional help. There are support groups and counselors available to assist you. An individual suffering from extreme depression may need to take medicine to reduce their symptoms. Encourage your friend to seek medical advice. Make an effort to persuade your friend that depression is a treatable illness. It’s not something your friend has to deal with on his or her own.

5. Offer Practical Help

Depressed people are prone to overlooking routine activities. You might discover that they don’t have enough food or that they aren’t keeping up with household chores. It can be difficult for a depressed person to open their mail or pay their bills. You can’t make a friend’s depression go away, but you can provide practical assistance. Ask your friend if they need something when you’re out shopping. Offer to prepare them a meal if you know they aren’t eating. 

6. Keep Them Informed

A depressed person is more likely to isolate themselves from others. They do not want to interact with anyone at all. However, keep them informed. Invite them to social gatherings, but don’t press them to come. It will encourage your friend that they are not ignored if you invite them to events. It will serve as a reminder that when they can reengage, their friends will always be there for them.

7. Don’t Try to Be an Expert

Depressed people also have the overwhelming feeling that no one knows them. So don’t try to treat your friend’s disease for them. Exercise and a balanced diet can benefit certain people who are depressed. Even medicine is effective for some people but not for others. Leave the illness treatment to the doctors. Being there for a lonely friend is the most important thing you can do.

8. Don’t Ignore the Situation

Take what your friend says seriously if they tell you how they’re feeling. A low day or feeling depressed is not the same as depression. It’s a crippling illness that can affect any aspect of a person’s life. It’s not helpful to say stuff like “I understand how you feel” or “we’ve all been there.” It will make your friend believe that you are not concerned about their illness. You have no idea what it’s like to be depressed if you have never lived it. So, rather than pretending to understand what your friend is going through, admit that you don’t.

9. Be ready to act in an emergency.

You must act if you have any concerns that your friend will injure themselves. If you believe your friend is on the verge of attempting suicide, call 911 immediately. If your friend insists on refusing assistance, it can be difficult to make a decision. In the short term, they can also despise you for interfering. They will thank you later, when they are feeling better, for your timely intervention.

10. Take your time.

Dealing with a depressed friend can be very stressful. You may feel compelled to walk away and get on with your life at times. But don’t lose your patience. Don’t abandon a friend when they need it the most.

Anyone may be affected by depression. You may be the next person that requires depression treatment.

Conclusion

Depression is a daunting condition to overcome. Both for the person who is sick and for their friends and family members. Being there for a friend who is down is the most important thing you can do for them. Encourage your friend to seek assistance and offer your assistance when needed.

Isn’t that what friends are about, after all?

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