You Can Do a Lot for a Depressed Friend
Chances are you know someone struggling with depression – it’s among the most common behavioral health problems facing Americans today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 7% of U.S. adults – that’s more than 17 million people – experienced depression in the past year. And while you may be familiar with the some of the symptoms of depression, how confident are you in supporting a friend, colleague, or family member who’s struggling?
Signs of Depression
To start, make sure you’re familiar with depression symptoms. The Mayo Clinic lists the following as common symptoms individuals may experience during a bout of depression:
Note that many signs of depression are often opposite ends of a spectrum, where an individual’s typical behavior marks the center. For example, sleeping far more than usual is a symptom as is sleeping far less, or having no appetite at all is a symptom as well as eating much more than usual. Do not assume that because someone is experiencing the opposite of one expected symptom, that they’re not displaying signs of depression at all.
How to Help
Now that you’re more aware of what to look for, how can you support someone who may be suffering from depression? Mental Health First Aid USA has developed a simple five-step plan that can give anyone a framework for how to be there for those in your life struggling with depression: ALGEE.
Don’t shy away from reaching out to someone who may be struggling with depression. Showing that you care can only help, and you never know how much they may be in need of a friend.
If for any reason you are unsure, uncomfortable, or unable to take action, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting ACT to 741741.