It can be difficult to know exactly what to do when you’re friend is going through hard times. Friends and family can often feel helpless. But having some knowledge and knowing a few resources can really help you and your friend feel supported. OnBundock offers a few tips on what to do when your friend or family member becomes depressed.
1. Understand depression. A great first step in supporting someone with depression is being informed to better understand what they’re going through. There are many resources out there. It is important to know that professional services offer effective therapies and that no one is a ‘lost cause’. https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-topics/Depression & http://www.beyondblue.org.au/
2. Listen. When a friend shares their concerns, our first reaction can be to offer a solution to alleviate their pain. Sometimes being ready to lend an ear is all that they need in that moment.
3. Acknowledge their feelings. Validating their feelings with reassurances such as “I can see this is a really hard time for you” or “I’m here for you” can help them appreciate that their feelings are being taken seriously.
4. You don’t need to have all the answers. They’re lucky to have a friend who is willing to do what they can to help. Be honest with them. If you’re not 100% sure what to do, it’s okay to admit that but let them know that you’re there for them and willing to work it out together.
5. Support them. Asking questions such as “What can I do to help?” or “What would you find helpful?” can open discussion and let them know you’re there for them. If you want to start a conversation, choose a safe and comfortable place that you can both talk freely.
6. Understanding risk of suicide. People with depression have potentially a higher risk for suicide. If you feel concerned, ask whether they have been thinking about suicide or if they have a plan for how to do it. If they have thought out an actual plan, they may be at a higher risk of attempting suicide.
7. Know what to do in an emergency. If you feel that you or your friend are in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else, call 000 immediately. Telling someone you trust can help as well.
8. Know the support services. It is important to realise that you cannot take on the sole responsibility of supporting your friend. Other professional services can help ease the responsibility. Then you can focus on enjoying each other’s company as well! Knowing what support services are out there can help with this:
9. Know that you are supported as well. If it is not an emergency and you are unsure of how to handle the situation, calling Lifeline (13 11 14) can also assist in how you can help them and yourself.
10. Take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself gives you the best ability in being able to support others. Doing the following can help keep your wellbeing in check: