You’re already being a terrific friend if you want to be there for someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety. It might be difficult to know how to help a depressed friend, as well as what to say to them. Remember that everyone is different, and while these recommendations can assist, it’s crucial to discuss with your buddy what they think they need when assisting a friend with depression or anxiety.
How to Help a Depressed Friend
Listen to them
Make your friend aware that you are there for them. Start the discussion by expressing your concerns and asking a particular question. For example, you could say, “It appears like you’ve been experiencing some difficulties lately.” “Can you tell me what’s on your mind?”
Remember that though your buddy may want to talk about their feelings, they may not want advice.
Use active listening skills to engage with your friend:
Instead of assuming you understand what they mean, ask questions to learn more.
Confirm their feelings. “That sounds incredibly difficult,” you could say. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”
With your body language, express empathy and curiosity.
If your friend doesn’t want to talk the first time you ask, continuing to remind them you care can help.
Continue to ask open questions and communicate your worry (without being aggressive). When feasible, try to hold conversations in person. Try video conferencing if you live in different places.
Be open and welcoming
It’s difficult to know what to say to a friend who is melancholy or anxious. If your pal feels like conversing, inquire about their day.
When someone is depressed or anxious, what should you say?
You may start the conversation by saying something like, ‘It appears that things have been difficult for you recently.’ ‘Can you tell me what’s on your mind?’ ‘What can I do to assist?’
When discussing a delicate topic with a buddy, try to pick a time and place when you’re both comfortable, calm, and have some solitude. If they don’t want to chat, don’t press them, and be there for them if they become upset. Even if you don’t have an answer or a solution, simply being there to listen can be quite beneficial.
It may be tough for your buddy to accept your assistance; keep in touch with them and let them know you care about them and are available to support them if they need it.
Help them to find support
Your acquaintance may be unaware of the professional assistance alternatives available to them, or they may be unsure of how to seek help. Even if they are aware of available resources, seeing a health professional can be intimidating.
Encourage your friend to speak with a health professional or an adult they trust for support. If they desire, you might offer to join them in conversation or even ask if they’d like you to schedule the appointment if it’s with a professional. If necessary, a GP can set up a mental health treatment plan for them. Your acquaintance will be referred to a psychologist or another professional as a result of this.
Not everyone is ready to meet someone in person. Hotlines or online chat-based helplines could be suggested. The ReachOut NextStep tool can also provide customized support alternatives, allowing them to create their own strategy. Here are some resources they can utilize, as well as more information on how to receive professional help for depression and anxiety.
Ask for permission to speak to an adult they trust on their behalf if they are unable to seek help on their own. If they reject and you’re still worried, talk to an adult you can trust, such as a teacher, parent, or school counselor.
Offer to help with everyday tasks
Day-to-day duties can feel daunting when you’re depressed. Laundry, food shopping, and bill paying can all pile up, making it difficult to know where to begin.
Your friend may appreciate your offer of assistance, but they may not be able to express their needs effectively.
Rather than responding, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” say, “What do you most need help with today?”
“Can I go you grocery shopping or pick up what you need if you write me a list?” if you discover their refrigerator is empty. or “Let’s go grocery shopping and prepare dinner together.”
Offer to come over, put some music on, and work on a specific task with your friend if he or she is behind on dishes, laundry, or other domestic duties. The mere presence of others might make the task appear less overwhelming.