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What Should I Do If I Think Someone Is Depressed?

There are some clear ways to help someone that you think may be dealing with depression. At the same time, there are detrimental things that we often unknowingly say in an attempt to help. Here are some key things to try and keep in mind when approaching someone you are concerned about:

• Talk to the person and tell him/her that you are concerned and want to help. They may be surprised anyone noticed a change in their behavior.

• Be accepting of his behavior and don’t expect him to “snap out of it”.

• Try not to be judgmental or offer advice.

• Encourage the person to make an appointment with a doctor, or offer to make the appointment for them. You may also want to offer to go along for support.

• Invite the person to join you in activities that you know he/she used to enjoy, but keep in mind that expecting too much too soon can lead to feelings of frustration or failure.

• Try to help them avoid resorting to alcohol, or other substances.

• If your friend talks of suicide, take this seriously and act on it! Insist they see a doctor and contact a suicide hotline right away.

When talking with someone that you are concerned about, remember to listen with a heart of understanding. You may not understand why they are feeling down, or why their reported situation is causing them anguish, but it is. They feel this whether you understand/believe them or not. Speak with kind, and gentle words that provide comfort rather than judgement. Make sure that you are remembering the myths presented earlier and giving validity to their feelings. And, lastly, counseling is not only indicated for people with clinical depression. If someone you care about is struggling, whether it is diagnosable or not, offer resources that could help them feel better.

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