01 Dec How can I help my friend who seems so sad?
What a great question! People who are depressed need good friends like you. Why? Well, people suffering from depression often have thoughts such as:
• I’m such a loser.
• No one likes me.
• I can’t do anything right.
• I’m so unloveable.
• I’m worthless.
• People would be better off without me.
Being around people who are supportive and caring helps to counter these awful and inaccurate thoughts. That’s why just “being there” is such an important thing.
But frankly, that’s not always easy. People with depression can be, well, depressing to be around. One 14 year-old girl we know had two best friends medicated for depression. It was very difficult for her to be supportive because, honestly, it was draining at times. But she was a good friend and truly cared deeply about her friends’ mental health, so despite how gloomy being with them was sometimes, she still was supportive because she knew it was important to their health.
Eventually, the medications helped her friends feel and be much better. After a few weeks, she forgot her friends had even gone through such a hard time!
It’s not easy to see your friends going through such a tough time, so here are a few ways to help support them:
• Be patient and encouraging.
• Ask about medications and be sure your friend is taking them responsibly.
• Take thoughts and comments about suicide very seriously and act on them if need be (call the doctor, call 911, tell a parent).
• Do things together – teach meditation/mindfulness, go for walks in nature, join a sports team together.
• Encourage healthy eating.
• Avoid sad TV shows and movies. Comedies and action adventure are more beneficial alternatives.
• Try to help others together. Studies show that helping someone else is the most reliable way to increase one’s happiness.
• Be supportive. With time and the right interventions, things will improve.
What would you like someone to do for you if you were feeling depressed?