How do you help a friend with depression?
- Jennifer Baxt NCC, DCC
When most think of depression, they think about a family member with depression or someone that they know of who is suspected of being depressed in school or the workplace, but few will think about what to do with a depressed friend. What can one do for their friend who appears to be suffering from depression? Many will be unsure of what to do for their friend. Some will try and ignore the problem and think that it will just go away; others will distance themselves from that person so that they dont have to deal with it. What doesnt seem to cross the minds of most is that getting their friend into online counseling would have been the best idea and the best thing they could have done as a true friend.
Few, whether they are young or old, seem to take depression seriously. Most will dismiss it as whining or a weakness that the person has, but depression is neither of these things. Depression is a mental illness that needs to be dealt with properly, or the person could continue to fall deeper into depression until they are completely lost and left in the dark. A common excuse for people to ignore the problem or to distance themselves from their friend is that they cant help them, but there are things that friends can do. They can not treat the person themselves, but there are things that they can do that can help encourage their friend to get the help that they need. Someone who suspects that their friend might be suffering depression should learn what they can about depression, perhaps even go so far as to ask questions of a online therapist. Finding out what some of the signs of depression are can also help one to figure out if their friend may actually be depressed. Some of the signs would include a decline in socializing, lack of enthusiasm, loss of interest in activities that would normally be of interest to them, increased procrastination, inability to concentrate and a lack of concern for time. These are only a few of the many signs that could indicate that a person may be depressed. If a few of these are seen in the friend, then the person should show their support and talk to their friend.
Sometimes, a person could really use a friend to talk to and having an understanding friend that is willing to listen can go a long way to making them feel better, but the ultimate goal should be to encourage them to seek help from online therapy. This is not always an easy task, especially if the friend is worried about what other would think of them if someone found out that they were going to counseling. One could suggest online therapy, which is becoming a popular way for people to get the help they need for their depression. They could easily get in touch with an online therapist from their home and from there get the counseling that they need. The counselor will work with the person to find out what is making them depressed, and then help the person to learn how to deal with their depression so that they can find their way out of it.