Help Them Join An Online Depression Support Group
Theres power and strength in numbers, and it always helps to know that youre not alone in your battles. There might be some local groups in your area, but many support groups online for depression. Just connecting with people walking the same path can be so healing.
Mental illness tends to make a person feel isolated and alone, but having a support group reminds them that so many more feel the same.
How Do You Know If Your Friend Is Going Through A Tough Time
Sometimes its hard to know the difference between the regular ups and downs of life, and mental health concerns like 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 like they have less energy in general.
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.
Do A Random Act Of Kindness
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for people is just some random act that shows you care. Maybe you should take them for dinner one night or buy them a gift certificate for a massage. Why not take them out to a movie and let them pick the show?
Taking time out of your busy schedule to help someone whos feeling down is one of the best things. Why not send flowers, a box of candy, or show up and cook them dinner? If you get creative, you can think of some random act of kindness that will cheer them up.
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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 theyd like you to book the appointment if its 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. Theyll also get Medicare-subsidised sessions getting help doesnt 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 theyre 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 youre still really concerned, consider talking to an adult you trust, such as a teacher, parent or school counsellor.
How To Talk To Someone With Depression
Talking to someone with depression can be a delicate process. You want to help, yet you are afraid of saying the wrong thing or not knowing what to say at all.
Fortunately, there are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that they feel supported.
Listen To Understand
These days, people have a tendency to listen to respond. You know what this means: while you listen to someone else, youre already thinking about what youre going to say back.
This does some things that make communication difficult and ineffective particularly when youre trying to help someone dealing with depression.
The first is that it actually limits your understanding of the other person. We tend to think that were pretty good at multitasking, but the human brain is actually really negative at it. When youre listening to respond, youre both listening and planning your response meaning that your brain is directing energy that could be spent focusing on the other person toward planning your response.
That brings us to the other bad thing that listening to respond does: it makes the conversation about you when it should be about the other person. Emotionally speaking, the focus should be on the person that youre talking to. Practically, if your brain is focusing on you and your response, youre less likely to give a response that is going to be helpful and supportive to the other person.
What Are You Listening For?
But what are you listening to?
What To Say
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What Kind Of Therapist Should I See For Depression
Various kinds of mental health specialists offer talk therapy:
- Psychiatrists. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who treats mental illnesses. While some psychiatrists only see patients to prescribe medication, others also provide talk therapy. In most states, psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication.
- Psychologists. A psychologist can help you learn how to manage your depression and teach you ways to cope.
- Social workers, counselors, or therapists. These mental health professionals can also help you learn to manage depression and teach you coping skills.
No matter what type of therapist you see, look for someone you feel comfortable talking to. âYour comfort level with the therapist is much more important than what kind of degree that person has,â says Eric Endlich, PhD, a Boston-based clinical psychologist. âTherapy is generally much more successful if you like your therapist and have a good relationship with that person.â
Talk To Someone You Trust
Talking to someone you trust about something upsetting may help you to:
- Sort through the problem.
- See the situation more clearly.
- Look at the problem in a new or different way.
- Release built-up tension this can help you to gain new insight into the situation that is causing the problem.
- Find out that you are not alone you may find that many other people share your feelings.
- Identify options or solutions you hadn’t thought of before.
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Support Your Loved One In Their Day
While starting treatment is a crucial component to managing depression, your loved one may still need help with their daily functioning. One good way to help may be offering to go to a therapy appointment with them to hear directly from their mental healthcare provider, says Michelle Riba, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry and associate director of the Comprehensive Depression Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
You can also offer to help them with tasks that may feel overwhelming, like grocery shopping, laundry, or cleaning the house, or simply suggest you take a quick walk around the block together to get them out and about, Dr. Riba says.
Establishing a routine is also very helpful, says Thames. You might try to make that walk happen every day, for example. Regular physical activity can help ease stress and release endorphins and other neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the brain, that play a role in boosting mood, Thames says.
One form of treatment for depression is behavioral activation, which involves engaging in activities one find meaningful, such as doing an enjoyable form of exercise or volunteering, according to the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Encouraging your loved one to do activities that give them personal satisfaction is important but dont go overboard with activities and socializing, Thames cautions.
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Why Reaching Out Is Important
Talking about depression and emotions is essential. The most important reason is that these things are real, says Dr. Sinyor.
We all have ups and downs. For some people, the downs can be so deep that they have a disorder. There are very few situations in life where denial and avoidance get us very far. If we can be open and honest about how we feel individually and at a societal level, it gives us the best opportunity to find paths to resilience and ultimately, thats what were all after.
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How And When To Talk
No single method of communication works for everyone. Consider how you usually talk to the person. Which method offers the most intimacy and fosters the deepest dialogue?
In a 2017 Kaiser Permanente poll, 86% of respondents said that face-to-face discussions of depression are the best option. However, some people may feel more comfortable texting.
There are some instances in which it is not helpful or advisable to talk about mental health issues. Some tips include:
- Do not bring up depression during a fight or a time of high stress.
- Do not use depression as a shaming tactic.
- Wait for a time when the person is reasonably calm.
- Do not talk to someone when they are distracted or tired.
- Avoid blindsiding the other person, such as by bringing depression up for the first time in a fight.
What If I Don’t Know What To Say
Don’t wait to talk just because you’re not sure what to say. You can keep it simple. You can start just by saying, “Got a minute? I need to talk.” Then say what you’re going through. For example, “I’ve been feeling down a lot lately. I think I might be depressed.” The person you’re talking to might ask you to tell them more. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get started talking.
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How Can Talking To A Parent Help
It can feel like a big relief to have someone listen, hear you out, and show they care. Talking together can help you feel more hopeful. It lets you know you’re not alone. Someone believes in you and has your back.
Sometimes, a parent can help you see another angle to a problem you’re dealing with. They can give good advice. When you feel their support, it’s easier to think of ways to help yourself, too.
Benefits Of Talking Therapies
Talking therapies can help all sorts of people in lots of different situations. You may also hear them referred to as counselling, talking treatments or psychological therapies.
Talking therapy is for anyone who’s going through a bad time or has emotional problems they need help with.
For many adults it may be the same or more effective than medicine.
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What Can It Do
It’s used to help the person find ways to deal with everyday stressors. It can also encourage you to use your medications properly.
Many studies support the idea that therapy can be a powerful treatment for depression. Some, although not all, have also found that combining depression medicine with therapy can be very effective. A large-scale trial involving more than 400 people with treatment-resistant depression found that talk therapy alongside medication made symptoms easier to take.
Why You Should Talk About Depression
Naturally, the prospect of disclosing your depression to other people is scary. You have no way of knowing for sure how they will respond.
But choosing to tell the people closest to you about your diagnosis and your struggles can be very healing, especially if they offer support and encouragement.
In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, simply talking to a sympathetic person can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.
Likewise, letting other people know about your depression provides a safety net of sorts, especially if your condition worsens or if you need help or support.
In some cases, you may even want to share your crisis plan with a few trusted friends or family friends. This way, they know how to respond if your depression hits crisis level or you start talking about suicide.
The key is that you try not to deal with depression alone. Being depressed already heightens feelings of isolation, loneliness, and hopelessness.
You can help counteract these feelings by surrounding yourself with supportive people who remind you that you are not alone and that you are lovedeven when you don’t feel that way.
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What To Say When Someone Is Depressed Or Anxious
You could start the conversation by asking questions such as: It seems like things have been hard for you lately. Whats on your mind? and: What can I do to help?
Something Ive learnt is to ask sincere, open-ended questions like, How does this feel? So the other person can feel supported, comforted and safe, rather than being told what to do. ayrc_1904
When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when youre both comfortable, relaxed and theres some privacy. Dont push them if they dont 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 youre there for them if they need you.
How To Talk To Friends About Your Depression
Deciding to tell the people you love that you’re struggling with depression is a big step. Not only is it challenging to find the energy to reach out to people, but there are naturally worries about how the news of your diagnosis will be received.
Unfortunately, there are too many misconceptions about mental health and what it means and the last thing you need is to be judged negatively because of it.
But, opening up about your depression is one of the most effective ways to get the help and support you need at a time when you likely feel vulnerable and alone, especially if you choose to disclose your illness to people that you know and trust.
Remember though, you are in control and you get to choose who knows and who doesn’t. Just don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from opening up to the people who care about you.
If you’re considering disclosing your diagnosis to the people close to you but just aren’t sure how to start the conversation, here are some things to consider.
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Depression: How Family And Loved Ones Can Help
There are several practical steps a spouse, sibling, friend, or parent can take to help a loved one who is experiencing major depression:
- Make sure the person is taking his medication offer to drive him to doctorsâ or therapist appointments or to fill prescriptions. In Kristen’s case, her parents were a conduit for information, talking to various doctors and therapists when she couldnât.
- Provide feedback. Someone with major depression is probably in therapy or on medication . By keeping an eye out for certain behaviors, youâll help the person report back to his doctor. This is particularly helpful if the loved one has anxiety or isnât sure if medication is working.
- Provide financial help. Therapy and medications are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
- Be there, even if youâre not talking. When someone is feeling anxious or sad, knowing he or she is not alone is an immense help.
- Educate yourself. There are many web sites, books, and articles that discuss depression.
âJust knowing that someone else knows that youâre suffering can be a very good and safe feeling,â Davis says. âEveryone likes to know that someone is in their corner.â
Xavier Amador, PhD, adjunct professor of clinical psychology, Columbia University author, I Donât Want to Talk About It.
Providing A Safe Place To Seek Support
Aron Janssen, MD is board certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry and is the vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry Northwestern University.
Verywell / Bailey Mariner
Depression chat rooms can help if you are feeling depressed and need to talk to someone who understands just what it is that you are going through. You can find a safe place to express yourself and get support from others who are also experiencing depression.
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Other Ways To Deal With Your Feelings
It is important to find ways to express your feelings. This can help you to release built-up tensions and make better decisions. There are a number of ways you can express how you feel, including:
- Set aside some time for yourself, even if it is just 10 minutes.
- Do things that make you feel good such as reading or exercising.
- Write about how you feel this can be a useful way to explore your feelings. Some people keep diaries or journals, others just write down whatever comes into their head. You may want to write a story about whatever is bothering you.
- Walk away from situations that might stress you out or make you angry.
- Self-talk consciously change negative thought patterns to help you look at things in a more positive light.
- Meditation being mindful is one way to focus your thoughts and consider the big picture. Is your stressful situation worth getting stressed about? Will it matter in the long run?
- Play sport or do some physical activity it will give you plenty of chances to get rid of pent up energy.
- Be creative draw, paint or make a collage.
- Use music singing, playing or listening to music can all help. Dance to music at home, or go out and dance as much as you like.