4 Top Tips
1. Do Acknowledge.
Tell the person suffering from depression that you’ve noticed that they seem down or depressed lately. (Unless they have already told you that they are suffering from depression.) If so, tell them that since you now know that they’re sad that you want to help. This will be very reassuring to them. Sometimes people with depression don’t feel like telling anyone because of the stigma associated with depression. This acknowledgment that you know how they feel may be the encouragement they need to start talking about it, and maybe even seek help.
2. Do find out why the person is depressed.
Did they have a bad break-up or did their parents get divorced? Ask them what you can do to help. Ask carefully and gently, and don’t get upset if they’re slow to tell you. Some people take longer than others to talk. If they do say things you can do to help, and then do them. Usually if they answer a question like this in full they genuinely need those things from you. Don’t offer to do things you don’t want to follow through on. This will just send them back into a deeper state of their depression because once again, they have been let down. Especially since it would be by someone as close as their friend, it could be more disappointing.
3. Do Listen
Sometimes they just needs someone to talk to. Actively listen to them without judging or giving advice. Depression is an issue that people sometimes feel they must hide, in order to maintain their usual life. Because people see it as a weakness or a cry for attention they feel like not telling anyone. However, from time to time, your friend may open up, or express the desire to talk to you. Sometimes they just want to vent. Don’t start spitting out possible solutions until you know the full extent of the problem. A good listener can sometimes be vastly more helpful than someone who tries to offer solutions. When this happens, be understanding and kind and willing to listen. This means a lot to them.
4. Try to understand.
Every person’s story is different, and so it is impossible to completely understand. Depression is a very complex and complicated disease. So it is ok for you not to understand where they are coming from. However, keeping an open mind and putting yourself in your friend’s shoes can help you come closer to them. Once you’ve done your research on depression, you should know a lot more about the illness. Apply the symptoms and emotions to yourself, and contemplate how you would feel if this was happening to you. Call upon things your friend has done or told you, and try to understand why and what they mean. In times of need, having someone understand or try too, can be all the relief in the world.