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Having a friend that is depressed can be a hard situation. Sometimes they get into a mood that makes them want to do nothing at all. Other times they are depressed and you don’t know it. Depression is not only when they are not in the best mood, but it can also lead to alcohol abuse, sadness, and even suicide. If you have found out your friend is struggling with depression continue reading so you can find out various ways to help them.
Open Line of Communication
The first, and extremely vital, tip is to keep an open line of communication with your friend. If they have come and expressed their emotions with you, they already trust you. However, if you are starting to notice that they do not seem to enjoy things like they used to, seem to be struggling with headaches or fatigue, or suddenly change their group of friends, you will want to talk to them. It is important that the friend know how they are feeling and that it is okay to struggle. You want to always make sure that the friend feels comfortable in sharing his or her feelings.
Do Activities Together
One of the biggest things that a person with depression will do is to isolate themselves and begin to live an unhealthy lifestyle. Depression may make your friend not eat as much, or they may start overeating foods. When you do activities together, you are helping prevent the isolation, but you are also keeping them active. Exercise is an ideal antidepressant because it raises your serotonin levels naturally. Consider going on bike rides or hikes where your friend has the ability to talk to you, without feeling pressured to doing anything they do not want to. However, if they enjoy activities, look at getting involved with sports or a group exercise program.
Stick by Them
Know that you will not have all of the answers and your friend is not expecting you to. Sometimes all they want is a person to listen and be by their side during the hard days. It can be difficult to be around a melancholy person, but the minute you are not present is when they are going to feel like they have no one who cares. Worse yet, depression can make a person very hurtful and it is likely they will say things they do not mean. It is important that while you are helping them and supporting them, you also get validation for your emotions from someone else.
Finally, anytime you feel that your friend’s depression is leading to suicidal thoughts, encourage them to seek professional help for depression treatment. You may feel that it is breaching the trust that the person has with you, but even jokes of suicide are often signs that something worse is going on in their mental wellbeing. Professionals are ready to help with therapy and medication to provide support because depression is not something you can simply fix.