If you have a friend who is struggling with depression, it can be difficult to know how to help. It’s important to remember that there are many ways to show support and make a positive difference in your friend’s life.
In this blog post, we will explore the best ways to provide care and understanding while simultaneously making sure our own mental health is taken care of.
Signs that your Friend is Struggling with Depression
It can be difficult to know when a friend is struggling with depression, as the signs can be subtle and easy to miss. The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of depression to be aware of in those around us.
They’ve withdrawn from friends and activities they once enjoyed.
If your friend used to love going for walks, but now they can’t even be bothered to get out of bed, it may be a sign that they’re struggling with depression.
Another sign that your friend may be depressed is if they start isolating themselves from the people they care about. If they’re cancelling plans, skipping social gatherings, and spending more time alone, it’s a red flag that something may be wrong.
Depression can cause people to lose interest in the things they once enjoyed and make them feel too tired or overwhelmed to participate in social activities.
If your friend seems to be withdrawing from their usual social life, it’s worth asking them how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to help.
They’ve lost interest in their appearance
If your friend has stopped caring about their appearance or is dressing differently than usual, it could be a sign of depression.
People who are depressed may lose interest in their personal hygiene or stop caring about how they look. This change in appearance can be a sign that your friend is no longer feeling good about themselves and may be struggling to cope with their depression.
They’ve lost weight or are overeating
Changes in appetite are another common symptom of depression. If your friend has lost their appetite or is eating significantly less than usual, it may be a sign that something is wrong. On the other hand, if they’re comfort eating or overeating, that can also be a symptom of depression.
They’re sleeping more or less than usual
Changes in sleep patterns are another common symptom of depression. If your friend is sleeping more than usual, or if they can’t seem to get enough sleep no matter how much they try, it may be a sign that they’re struggling. On the other hand, if they’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, that can also be a sign of depression.
They’re easily irritated or angered.
People who are depressed often have difficulty controlling their emotions and may lash out at those around them for no reason. If you notice your friend is quick to anger or is snapping at you more often, it’s worth asking if they’re okay and if there’s anything you can do to help them cope with their feelings.
They’re having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Depression can also cause difficulties with concentration and decision-making . So if you notice your friend is having difficulty concentrating and are concerned that it might be due to depression, it’s important to ask if they’re feeling okay and if there’s anything you can do to help .
They’re always tired
Depression can cause fatigue and make it difficult for people to find the energy to do even simple tasks. If you notice your friend is always tired, it’s important to ask if they’re coping okay and if there’s anything you can do to help them out .
They’re drinking more alcohol or using drugs
Some people turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with their depression . This coping mechanism can quickly turn into an addiction, so it’s important to reach out to your friend if you notice this change in behavior.
They’ve mentioned wanting to hurt themselves or talked about suicide .
If your friend has ever talked about wanting to hurt themselves or expressed thoughts about suicide , it ‘ s important to take these comments seriously as they may be warning signs for an impending suicide attempt . Depression can make people feel like death would be preferable to living with their pain , so any mention of self-harm should always be taken seriously
A Guide to Helping a Friend Struggling with Depression
Here are 10 useful tips that you can use as a guide when helping out a friend who is dealing with depression.
Listen Without Judgement: One of the most important things you can do when trying to help a friend who is struggling with depression is to listen without judgement. Rather than trying to solve the problem or offering solutions, try just being there for them by listening and validating their emotions.
Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help: While it may not always be easy, encourage your friend to seek professional help from a mental health provider if they aren’t already doing so. Mental health professionals have years of experience in helping individuals work through their issues and can offer invaluable advice and guidance during tough times like these.
Show You Care: Showing your friend that you care about them doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated; just letting them know that you are there for them when they need it is often enough of an indication that you are supportive and understanding of their situation.
Offer Practical Assistance: Offering your friend practical help such as running errands, taking care of chores, or simply checking in on them regularly can make all the difference in helping them manage their day-to-day activities while they work through their depression.
Normalize Their Feelings and Experiences: It’s important for your friend to understand that feeling down or anxious at times is normal, especially during difficult times like these, and that it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with them or that they are any less capable of achieving their goals than anyone else might be in similar circumstances.
Offer Distractions: When things get overwhelming for your friend, offer distractions such as watching a movie together or going out for coffee/tea/dinner/etc., which will give them something else to focus on other than their current struggles and provide some much needed social interaction as well!
Participate in Self-Care Together: Doing things together such as exercising, reading, listening to music, etc., can provide both physical and emotional relief from anxiety and stress while also giving you both something positive and constructive (not to mention fun!) on which to focus!
Respect Boundaries: If at any point your friend wants some space or time away from discussing certain topics related to their depression – respect those boundaries! Everyone has different needs when it comes to managing mental health issues. Respecting those needs shows understanding and respect towards your friend while also giving them the room they need in order to heal and progress toward better mental health practices .
Encourage Healthy Habits: Sometimes we don’t realize how much our daily habits affect our overall mental wellbeing – encouraging healthy habits such as eating well , getting enough sleep , avoiding drugs/alcohol , etc., can go a long way in helping your friend become more aware of how everyday decisions impact their mental state .
Check In Regularly: Finally, make sure you check in regularly with your friend. People dealing with depression often feel isolated and hearing from you will help your friend feel less alone. Regular contact keeps us connected and reminds us we’re not alone – even if we might feel that way at times. Take the time to message them to let them know you are there for them. Tell them that it is OK if they do not want to message back, but you just want them to know that they are in your thoughts.
It is very difficult to watch a friend struggle with depression and help them on the road to recovery, so it is important that you also take some time for yourself to recharge. Seek out your own support system, whether that is friends, family, or a mental health professional.
Important information for anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please act immediately. Contact a mental health professional or call a suicide hotline in your area.
In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources.
You can call the Lifeline at +1 800 273 8255. They also have a chat function on their website that you can use if you do not feel like talking.
In Canada, the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention provides resources and support to those affected by suicide.
In the United Kingdom you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Helpline or call them on 0800 689 5652.
If you are in another country, please visit this page for a list of international suicide hotlines.
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