What to Say When Someone Is Depressed

6 Do’s and Don’ts for Supporting Someone Who Has Depression

What to Say When Someone Is Depressed

You’ve noticed some changes in your friend that concern you.You’re not sure if it’s depression or just a bad few days, but you want tohelp. So where do you start?

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Clinical psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD, gives some strategies that can help you provide support.

How can you tell if someone is dealing with depression?

Depression touches most Americans, whether they experience it personally or it affects someone they know. In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports it’s one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States — an estimated 17.3 million adults were living with depression in 2017.

So how can you tell if a friend is just a bit sad or hassomething deeper brewing? “There certainly are telltale signs,” Dr. Borlandnotes. “But since you don’t necessarily see that person every day, you may haveto do more detective work.”

He recommends watching for behavioral changes or anything that could be character for your friend. Some depression symptoms include:

  • Lack of engagement:They lose interest in activities they used to enjoy or want to hang out less.
  • Change in communication patterns: Youused to chat or hang on the regular, and now they’re MIA.
  • Changes in hygiene and sleepingpatterns: They’re sleeping less — or all the time. Their appearance andhygiene no longer seem to be a priority.
  • Displays of sadness or anger: Theirtemper now has a hairpin trigger, or maybe they seem more down than usual.
  • Withdrawal from social outlets:They’re missing from activities where they were formerly fixtures.

How to help someone with depression

Dr. Borland recommends some do’s and don’ts to get the conversation going:

Do: Practice assertive communication

Rather than making depression taboo, talk openly with yourfriend about your concerns. Dr. Borland recommends cultivating the art ofassertive communication: You take ownership of your feelings and concerns andcommunicate them without finger-pointing. And you listen and provide yourfriend with unconditional emotional support.

To do this, practice using “I”statements. “Begin sentences with, ‘I’m worried,’ ‘I’m concerned’ or ‘I’ve noticed.’Then explain your concerns to your friend,” he suggests. “Avoid saying, ‘Youdon’t seem yourself,’ or ‘You haven’t been hanging out as much as youusually do.’ They can create defensiveness in the person receiving the message.”

Do: Show empathy

Put yourself in your friend’s shoes in a nonjudgmentalway. Think about how you would feel if you were coping with symptoms ofdepression and how you would want friends to react. Maintain eye contact whenlistening, and say things , “That sounds hard. I’m sorry you are goingthrough this,” and “I’m always here for you.”

“And if you’ve dealt with depression yourself, self-disclosure can be very powerful,” Dr. Borland points out. “You’re giving your friend a gift by opening yourself up and sharing that you understand.’”

By responding to your friend in an open and empathetic way,you show them that they aren’t a burden.

Do: Set boundaries

It’s OK to be specific about when you can — or can’t — bethere for your friend. For example, let your friend know that it’s better foryou to talk after your kids are in bed. And don’t accept abusive or violentbehavior. If they don’t stop, do what’s best for your health and safety.  

Self-care is also key. Monitor your own health and well-being so you have something to give when the going gets tough. Supporting someone with depression can take a lot you. Learn your limits and when it’s time to recharge your batteries. Explain to your friend that while you’re there for them, a mental health professional has the training and tools needed to effectively treat them.

Do: Be patient

There is no quick fix for depression. The recovery processtakes time. You’re less ly to get frustrated with, or give up on, yourfriend if you’re hunkered down for the long haul.

Don’t: Think you can fix it

Recognize that supporting your friend does not mean fixingtheir problems. A person with depression often needs treatment to seeimprovement — and that’s something only a medical professional can provide.  

Don’t: Give up

But what if your friend rejects your efforts even when you’vedone all the right things?

“Their rejection may be a defense mechanism. They realizeyou’re recognizing their symptoms and that they’re not doing as good a jobhiding them as they thought,” explains Dr. Borland. “It’s easy to reactnegatively to a friend who’s unwilling to get help. But stick with them andmaintain communication. Continue to check in on your friend and encourage themto get help.”

Dr. Borland also recommendstrying to be there with your friend instead of for your friend. “Itmeans I’m in this with you, even if you push me away,” he says.

What to do if your friend has suicidal thoughts

If you are concerned your friend may harm themselves,don’t dismiss your gut. Instead:

  • Pay attentionto anything said about suicide, other forms of self-harm or a world thatdoesn’t include them.
  • Keep the lines of communication openso they know they can talk to you when they have these feelings.  
  • Encourage themto get professional help.

That help may include outpatient therapy and psychotropic medications prescribed by their primary care doctor or a psychiatrist. If you think your friend is in immediate danger, call 911 or take your friend to the nearest emergency department.

Remember: Your friend’s situation is not hopeless. other illnesses, depression can be treated with the right medical help and the support of friends you.

Источник: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/6-dos-and-donts-for-supporting-someone-who-has-depression/

10 Things to Say to Someone with Depression

What to Say When Someone Is Depressed

Having a supportive person to talk to when you’re feeling depressed can really help ease the symptoms a little.

There are no magic words that will make someone feel better and it can be tough to know what to say to someone that is suffering. In my opinion, avoiding the subject is the worst tactic.

It breeds guilt within the sufferer and makes them feel an outsider, which can end up pushing them further away.

When I feel helpless and upset it’s important that I feel comforted, even when I can’t explain exactly what the problem is. If you know someone who deals with depression take the time to ask them if they are OK and tell them that you’re there for them. Even these few simple words can make them feel less alone.

Here are some helpful things to say to someone who is struggling. This is by no means a complete list of what to say –  it’s just a few things that have worked for me.

1. “Do you want some space?”

Although it’s important to show support by being present in someone’s life and ensure they are not isolating themselves, often some time alone can be helpful to digest how they’re feeling or just recharge their batteries. Offering to give someone space if they really need it can be a good idea.

2. “I’m here for you”

Just knowing someone is there when we need them can be a great comfort. Many people with mental health problems are reluctant to ask for help, as they don’t want to bother people with their issues. Expressing to a loved one that you are there whenever they are ready to talk is a good start to opening up lines of communication.

3. “I love you”

Feeling alone, upset and helpless can be terrifying. You don’t always need to have the answer to their problems as there is rarely a perfect solution. Just saying, “I love you” lets them know they have your support no matter what they’re going through.

4. “Take as long as you need”

For someone in a deep depression or even just an extremely low mood, seemingly easy tasks can feel overwhelming. Everyday things, such as taking a shower or cooking might seem too much to deal with, especially early in the day. Many people with depression feel their mood lifts towards the end of the day, so allowing them extra time to do these tasks is a good plan.

5. “You don’t need to do anything that makes you uncomfortable”

Feeling pressured into something, such as social situations when you’re feeling depressed can be incredibly upsetting. You may feel obliged to appear cheerful, which can be very difficult. Knowing these events can be avoided for the time being can help a person feel relaxed and allow them the time to focus on their own health.

6. “Everything is going to be OK”

It sounds simple, but just telling someone that everything is going to be OK can soothe their mood. When people get upset or frustrated, they often jump to the ‘worst case scenario’. Gently calming them down and reminding them what small steps can be taken to improve the situation can help.

7. “I don’t think you’re crazy”

There is still so much stigma around mental health that sufferers often feel marginalised for having a problem. Feeling alone and different from everyone else will only exacerbate the problem, so remind your loved one that although their illness is real, it’s treatable and doesn’t make them any less of a person.

8. “You’re a good person”

Guilt is a common feeling with depression and can be a trigger, as well as a symptom. Often people feel they are a bad person because they were too sick to go to work or attend a social occasion; but this is not the case. You wouldn’t judge someone for missing an event due to physical illness, so why would you think someone was a bad person for being mentally unwell?

9. “It’s not your fault”

It’s common for mental health issues to seem easy to fix on the surface, but as we know it’s often a complex issue that can take years to resolve. Reminding the person that they can’t just ‘snap it’ is key; it’s not easy to fix and it’s not their fault.

10. “You’re not a burden”

People with depression often have to rely on friends and family for lots of things; such as cooking, cleaning and shopping. Be clear that you are happy to help whenever you can (being sure not to put your own health at risk). Making sure they feel comfortable asking for and receiving help can ease the pressure of daily life considerably.


Fiona Thomas is a UK blogger who suffers from depression and generalised anxiety disorder.

She is a keen advocate of mental health and uses her blog to explore these issues, help others feel less alone and break down the stigma around the subject.

She talks about how her passion for writing – along with other techniques – help her to live with depression and minimise the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

For more tips and insight into living with mental health visit www.fionastoblog.com

Источник: https://www.headstogether.org.uk/10-things-to-say-to-someone-with-depression/

6 ways to help a friend with depression or anxiety

What to Say When Someone Is Depressed

If you want to be there for someone who’s dealing with depression or anxiety, you’re already being a great friend.

It can be hard to know exactly how to help someone with depression or anxiety, and what to say to someone who's having a rough time.

Remember that each person is different, and while these tips are a guide, when helping a friend with depression or anxiety, it’s important to talk with your friend about what they feel they need.

Not totally sure what depression or anxiety are, or how to help a friend with depression or anxiety? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression, anxiety or anything else your friend is going through – this will help you to better understand what's happening and how they feel.

My friends try to learn more about what I’m experiencing, especially asking for and going to sources of information I recommend. – hellofriend (Forums User)

Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between the regular ups and downs of life, and mental health concerns depression and anxiety. Someone experiencing mental health concerns might feel ashamed, and worried about how their friends might react if they talk about it.

Not everyone experiences depression or anxiety in the same way, and symptoms can vary; however, there are changes in the way a person going through a tough time acts that you can look out for. If your friend is experiencing depression, they might:

  • seem down or tearful a lot of the time, or cranky more often
  • stay up really late or sleep in a lot, or have problems with sleep
  • miss a lot of school, work or their regular activities
  • miss hangouts or often cancel at the last minute
  • eat more or less than usual
  • drink alcohol or take drugs more than usual
  • talk about feeling empty, tired or worthless
  • seem more pessimistic and hopeless, and they have less energy in general.

Learn more about what depression is and to recognise the signs and symptoms.

If your friend is experiencing anxiety, they might:

  • be obsessed with details, such as being a perfectionist or wanting to plan things out thoroughly
  • have difficulty making decisions
  • avoid new people, situations or unfamiliar places
  • have trouble keeping to schedules or plans
  • seem disinterested, forgetful, distracted or scattered
  • have digestive issues
  • have a need to reassurance – about how you feel, whether plans make sense, triple checking times
  • have difficulty sleeping

Learn more about what anxiety is and how to recognise the symptoms.

2. Be open and welcoming, and listen

It can be hard to know what to say to a depressed or anxious friend. If your friend feels talking, ask them how they’re going.

What to say when someone is depressed or anxious

You could start the conversation by asking questions such as: ‘It seems things have been hard for you lately. What’s on your mind?’ and: ‘What can I do to help?’

Something I’ve learnt is to ask sincere, open-ended questions , ‘How does this feel?’ So the other person can feel supported, comforted and safe, rather than being told what to do. – ayrc_1904 (Forums User)

When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when you’re both comfortable, relaxed and there’s some privacy. Don’t push them if they don’t want to talk, and be there for them if they become upset. You might not have an answer or a solution, but just being there to listen can be super helpful.

It might be difficult for your friend to accept your help – continue to check in with them and let them know that you care about them, and that you’re there for them if they need you.

3. Take their feelings seriously

If someone is living with a mental health concern, it isn’t possible for them just to ‘snap it’, ‘cheer up’ or ‘forget about it’. Acknowledge that what's happening must be difficult to handle; don't tell them that their feelings are weird or unfounded.

Try not to approach your friend they’re a patient or someone who needs to be fixed…this might make them feel embarrassed and belittled, and can make them close themselves off to you. – Anzelmo (Forums User)

If you’re not sure how to help someone with depression or anxiety, ask them. You could also offer them some options and let them choose what suits them best. For example, you could offer to listen and let them express their thoughts, or just to hang out, without serious conversation.

Try to be caring, compassionate and curious, and let them know that they matter to you and you are taking them seriously.

4. Help them to find support

Your friend might not be aware of what professional support options are available, or they may be unsure of how to get support. Even if they know about support options, it can be daunting to see a health professional.

You can offer support by encouraging your friend to speak to a health professional or an adult they trust. You could offer to join them for the conversation if they want, or even ask if they’d you to book the appointment if it’s with a professional.

A GP can organise a mental health care plan for them if needed. This means that your friend will get a referral to a psychologist or other professional.

They’ll also get Medicare-subsidised sessions – getting help doesn’t have to mean they have to fork out hundreds of dollars.

Not everyone is ready to see somebody face-to-face. You could recommend hotlines or online chat-based helplines. The ReachOut NextStep tool can also provide tailored support options so they can make their own plan. Here are some support services they could use, and some more information about getting professional support for depression and anxiety.

If they’re not able to seek help on their own, ask for their permission to talk to an adult they trust on their behalf. If they refuse, and you’re still really concerned, consider talking to an adult you trust, such as a teacher, parent or school counsellor.

5. Continue supporting them and respond to emergencies

On a bad day, your friend might not want to leave their room. If they say something ‘I’m going to cancel my appointment today’, encourage them to follow through with the appointment.

Whether or not your friend has decided to get professional help, it’s important that they know they can get support from you, or other friends and family.

If you think your friend may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else, seek help from a trusted adult or emergency mental health service immediately. Call 000 to reach emergency services and also tell someone you trust.

In more serious cases, it’s important to let an older/more responsible adult know what’s going on. You don’t have to be perfect all the time and making mistakes are inevitable and a good thing as we can learn from them. – Anzelmo (Forums User)

When you're going through a tough time, it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge your own achievements. It's also hard to see your own progress and improvement. When your friend takes a step towards confronting their fears or improving their wellbeing, congratulate them and do something fun together. Help them feel proud of themselves.

Something that has really helped me in the past is to make sure to do fun things with my friend, rather than making every interaction about trying to solve what I’m going through. – WheresMySquishy (Forums User)

It can be pretty scary and intense to see someone you care about experiencing depression or anxiety. You can be there for your friend, but it’s equally important to do things that keep you well. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be in a better place mentally and physically, and this allows you to better support the people around you.

Remember to do the following to make sure your own wellbeing is looked after:

  • Monitor your mood. You might be really worried about your friend, but it's important that you also monitor your own mood and stress levels. This could include rating your mood ten each day, to track how you're doing.
  • Don't give up the things you enjoy. Always make sure you've got the time to do your favourite things.
  • Make time to relax. Relaxation is great for helping you to unwind and deal with stress.
  • Set boundaries. You aren’t going to be able to be there for your friend all of the time. Set some limits around what you’re willing, and not willing, to do. For example, you might decide not to take any phone calls in the middle of the night, or not to miss social events just because your friend isn’t up to going.
  • Ask for support. It’s important that you’re getting your own emotional support. Talk to people you trust about how you’re feeling.

What can I do now?

Helping friends Depression Anxiety Relationships Article Helping a friend

Источник: https://au.reachout.com/articles/6-ways-to-help-a-friend-with-depression

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