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Helping a Friend with Depression

RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF DEPRESSION

  • Depressed mood
  • Change in sleeping habits--too much or too little; waking earlier than usual
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Doing things more slowly or very rapidly (speaking for example)
  • Loss of interest in things that used to be pleasurable
  • Withdrawal from friends or family
  • Feeling tired, loss of energy
  • Inability to concentrate, confused, slowed thinking, indecisiveness
  • Feeling of worthlessness, self hate, guilt
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Self neglect--not bathing or changing clothes--a change in hygiene
  • Easy anger or irritability
  • Excessive drug or alcohol use
  • Thoughts of death, suicide wishing to be dead

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEPRESSION AND THE BLUES

  • Blues lasts only a few days
  • The person is still able to get things done
  • The person is able to act on ideas to make things better
  • The person has a sense that this will soon pass
  • They can still concentrate and make decision if they try
  • Suicidal thoughts are fleeting

HOW TO HELP A FRIEND WITH DEPRESSION

1.  Learn all you can about depression
2. Clearly outline for yourself the reasons you feel your friend needs help.
3. Practice stating your reasons for helping in a positive, non-blaming way. It is important to be direct, honest, and compassionate. "I value our relationship and I am concerned that you seem depressed. You haven't been eating, you've been sleeping a lot, not socializing like usual, and talking about dying a lot. I am worried about you." Rather than "You're really depressed and you need help now!"
4. Prepare for your friend's reaction. Sometimes people react with hopeless statements saying, "There is nothing anyone can do" or with anger "Leave me alone--who asked for your help." Realize this is the depression talking so hang in there and don't become defensive or argue or give up. Depression does not clear up on its own.  Talk with a therapist who specialize in counseling this issue. call the counseling Center at 765-285-1736 to talk with someone and get more information.  Learn about the treatment options in order to help make starting the process easier for your friend.
5. Consider what you will do if you are not successful. Try to foresee the best possible reaction on your part.
6. Create a special time to convey the desire to get help. Be willing to listen and not judge or offer lots of advice.  Approach your friend by saying you would like to set some time aside to talk about something important and, "When would be good for you?" Then, express how important he or she is to you and the reasons you feel there could be a benefit from counseling (don't say what your friend is doing wrong). Acknowledge that they are hurting and hold out hope. In most cases counseling and/or medication is effective. Offer to walk over to the Counseling Center in Lucina Hall, Room 320 with them.

 

REMEMBER

Friends Help Friends Get Help
Be A Friend; Help A Friend

Call the Counseling Center at 765-285-1736 or after
hours and on weekends 765-747-7330