Helping a friend who is feeling depressed is not easy. You may feel confused, scared, angry, and worried. With that being said, here are some tips to help you show support while still taking care of yourself.
Look After Yourself
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you look after yourself. After all, how are you going to be there to care for your friend if you feel overwhelmed and are unable to relax to be yourself? Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do so that you have the ability to be strong for your friend when you are needed the most.
Don’t Ask Too Many Questions
You are bound to have plenty of different questions you’d like answers to because you care about your friend. However, asking too many questions can be bewildering and overwhelming, so you will need to be mindful about this. Sometimes, your friend will not have the answers to the questions you are asking. They may not have even thought about the things you are asking them about which can lead to new issues they aren’t ready to face. Your friend may also not understand why they are feeling this way, which can be frustrating for both you and for them too. This is why you need to make sure you carefully consider the questions you ask so that you are respectful. By encouraging them to seek help from a professional counselor who can guide them in their introspection and anticipate when they are not ready, you can alleviate certain pressure from your friendship while still supporting your friend. If they discover something in a discussion with a counselor they may even want to tell you about it.
Respect Your Friend or Family Member’s Courage
It is important to respect your friend for having the courage to tell you about the problems that they are experiencing. This is a huge step for anyone to take and it is important that it does not go unnoticed. Although you may know that you would always stay by your loved one’s side no matter what, they may not have realized this and they may have seriously been concerned that they were going to lose your friendship.
Giving your friend your full attention as they share their thoughts and concerns with you can be very comforting and is therefore another extremely important aspect of supporting them. Avoid the temptation of trying to find solutions to their problems. You can offer suggestions if they ask, but often simply being there to hear them out and provide a shoulder to cry on is the best thing that you can possibly do when a loved one is feeling down. Make sure you are actually listening and do not appear distracted.
The Internet has been a great source for information. However, it is also a place whereby anyone and everyone can claim to be an expert. Because of this, myths about mental health and depression are becoming more and more common. Reading up on depression certainly comes advised but make sure you only consider reliable sources.
Get support too
Last but not least, it is important that you get the support you need too. Make sure you do so while still keeping your friend’s personal life confidential and not betraying their trust, but also know when it’s time to seek professional help. This is especially important if they’ve mentioned suicide.
All in all, there is no denying that helping a friend who has depression can be incredibly difficult. Utilize the information in this post to help guide you. Your friend has trusted you enough with their issue and so it is important to be there for them in the best way that you can. Visit our page about Depression for our Depression Screening Test.