Depression is a tough illness to face. Mental health issues can be as tough on the individual as physical ailments. Those suffering may have varying symptoms from feeling incredibly sad to unbearably anxious.
If a friends reaches out to you and confides in you about this deeply personal issue then it’s a sign you are a true friend. You are deeply trusted. People often hide problems like this from those closest to them. In recent times there has been an upsurge in campaigns and famous figures speaking out about the struggle that comes with depression. These are of course significant positives to help a change in attitudes. Sadly, there is still a lot of stigma associated with mental health issues.
Therefore if a friend confides in you its essential to handle the situation properly.
#1 Let them know you are there for them
Be a source of comfort and reassurance. Thank them for reaching out to you and let them know you are there whenever just to chat or whatever they need.
#2 Stay true to your word
It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives but be a good friend and keep that promise. Check in with him/her regularly. A quick text or phone call can have a huge impact on someones day.
#3 Encourage them to get help
This may be the most important tip. If they haven’t gone to seek medical advice make sure that they do. It is ultimately their choice but do your best to persuade them to go along and talk things over. There are a variety of ways to tackle depression and medical assistance will be a massive benefit.
#4 Make your catch ups active
Now is the time to jump on the health and fitness bandwagon! Get your friend to meet you for a walk or a gym class. Exercise has been proven to boost the mood and make us feel better. A quick class or stroll around the park will give you a little mood boost too. Everyone’s a winner.
#5 Don’t judge
Depression is a serious illness and needs to be handled carefully. Be supportive and caring but don’t try to fix them. Your bestie will need care and attention. Don’t become frustrated if you think they aren’t listening to your well meaning advice. It may be tempting to tell them to snap out of it etc. Please don’t. This will be a process that takes time and patience.
It will be tough when a friend confides in you that they are suffering with depression, we hope that these few tips will assist you. Our advice is to look up reputable websites for some in depth advice on how to broach matters. It may be that you need some support yourself and if you are struggling ask for help.
By Catherine Murphy