Menu Close

5 Ways to Help a Friend with Depression

woman embracing her friend as she struggles to employ one of the 5 ways to help a friend with depression

Depression affects millions of American adults annually and is a leading cause of disability worldwide. An estimated 20 percent of Americans will experience depression at some point in their lifetime, which means it’s highly likely that someone close to you will experience depression at some point. Helping a friend with depression can seem challenging. However, there are several simple steps you can perform to provide support for a friend with depression that needs help.

Someone close to you might be depressed now, and you don’t even know it. Many people with depression can hide their symptoms and carry on as usual despite feeling miserable. Even more alarming, about a third of Americans know someone who has died by suicide. If you or someone close to you is struggling with depression, don’t wait to seek professional treatment programs.

The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare understands the dangers of depression and can help—call 844.413.2690 to get started.

5 Ways of Helping a Friend with Depression

1. Stay Calm

Perhaps the most important thing is to stay calm and don’t judge. Although we’ve made much progress in our perceptions of mental health in recent years, a stigma still remains, and depression is hard for many people to talk about. If your friend opens up to you, it’s a sign of trust, so show them their confidence in you is justified.

2. Educate Yourself About Depression

There are still many misconceptions about depression that people take for fact. One of the most pernicious is that depression is all in your head and that people with depression should just buck up or get over it. In reality, depression is as much physical as it is mental. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Slow movements
  • Disturbed sleep

Depression has been linked to structural changes in the brain, changes in levels of neurotransmitters, and, more recently, inflammatory diseases. In short, it’s crucial to know that depression is a physical illness that requires treatment.

3. Listen to What Your Friend Says

When your friend opens up to you about their depression, they are probably not looking for advice unless you happen to be a mental health expert. More than likely, they want someone to listen and understand that they are having a hard time. Listen to what they say, ask questions, and try to understand. Let them know you’re there to offer support in any way possible.

4. Encourage Your Friend to Seek Help

One of the questions you should definitely ask is whether they have sought professional help. If their symptoms have lasted two weeks or more, your friend may meet the clinical criteria for depression. Many people with depression are reluctant to seek help, either because they don’t think it will do any good, they’re embarrassed about it, or they’re just too exhausted to do the work of finding a therapist. Encourage your friend or loved one to get help and offer to help them if necessary, perhaps by looking for a therapist, making an appointment, or giving them a ride.

5. Stay in Touch

One common effect of depression is that you want to isolate yourself. Unfortunately, this is counterproductive since it only makes the depressed person feel more isolated and insignificant. Their friends may misinterpret this and think they are putting them off. So it’s important to keep reaching out and inviting them to do things, even if they often decline or back out. It’s good to know someone cares.

Reach Out to The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare Today

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare offers an integrative and holistic approach to treating substance abuse and underlying mental health and psychological issues. All of the addiction recovery programs offered by The Arbor use evidence-based and holistic therapeutic approaches to heal the mind, body, and spirit leading to a lifetime of sobriety, health, and wellness. If you’re ready to find healing and restoration in a peaceful, loving environment, please call us today at 844.413.2690 or reach out online.