Growing up in a society where no one talks about depression can be tough and it can cause you to be ignorant of a lot of important facts. For instance, you might find yourself in a situation where you have to be there for a friend or a loved one who is suffering from depression and you would realize that you have absolutely no idea of what to say or do. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 7 simple ways to help those suffering from depression.
Try to become Informed
In my first year in Secondary school, back when life was easy and I had fewer things to worry about, my agricultural science teacher brought a bunch of leaves to the class and told us to identify each of them and to write on their characteristics and uses. I remember staring at her and wondering how someone could be so cold-hearted as to give out such an impossible task. The assignment had a ton of marks attached to it so I had no choice but to bury my heads in various textbooks in the hopes of identifying them. After spending endless hours and a lot of energy, I was able to identify each of those leaves and that was just the beginning. Later on, I realized that I could remember the characteristics of those leaves and their uses without even taking a glance at any of my study notes.
You must be wondering why I said all that and its relation to what is above. The truth is if you want to help a friend suffering from depression, the first thing you have to do is to get informed. Understand what depression means, the triggers, the types, the effects and the symptoms. You have to be able to comprehend what depression means and the only way in which you would be able to do that is by carrying out a lot of research:
- Scour the net for information,
- Ask for information from people who have gone through depression,
In the end, you’ll find yourself equipped to aid those suffering from depression. I doubt you’d even need me after doing all that.
Always be there to Listen
“All I have to do is listen right, sounds easy.”-okay.
Now imagine you that you have been anticipating a movie for months only to get to the cinema just to be seated with someone that makes these terrible “Tcha! Tcha! Tcha!” sound while eating their popcorn and the entire cinema is full so there’s no extra seat. The best option for you at that point would be to try to zone out that sound by focusing on the movie. You will agree with me that achieving something like that would require an intense level of concentration.
“To truly listen to someone will require that level of concentration and attention.”-still sound easy?
Dedicate your attention and truly listen, sometimes, that’s all we need.
Never take their feelings lightly
Don’t be that person who goes all ” It can’t be that bad you know…”
It is that bad. You have to learn to take their feelings seriously. Don’t try to minimize their pains.
If you were trying to tell the doctor that you have a migraine and he just brushes you aside saying it can’t be that bad when in fact it is that bad, ask yourself
- How exactly would you feel?
- How would you react?
The truth is you cannot truly comprehend what they might be feeling and that’s why you need to learn to take their feelings seriously.
Let them know about support services
This right here is quite important, you have to tell them about the support services that are available to them. The truth is they might not bother checking for support services which is why you would have to tell them about it. It’s your job to do a little research on their behalf.
Get out your phones, do a thorough search on google, ask around and save a friend.
Avoid offering advice
“Hey Kunle, try to go out more, it will help…”
If you are one of those people who can’t help but try to give advice at every occasion, then you are going to have to learn to dial it down a bit. One thing you should not do is try to offer advice to someone who is suffering from depression, it can make them feel insulted and withdrawn.
Instead of offering advice, you can always ask “what can I do to help?”
This gives them a chance to ask for whatever help might be needed without feeling insulted.
Don’t even dare!
Judging or criticizing someone with depression doesn’t help them get better, instead, it makes it worse. If you really want to help, you would avoid criticizing or judging and be a whole lot more supportive.
Understand that someone suffering from depression would not get better overnight, it takes time, quite a lot of it and you have to be willing to endure with them, to always be beside them and to render your help in every single way you can. It can get tiring and frustrating. There will be times when you would want to quit on them and live your life, but you have to realize that they need you, far more than you can possibly imagine.
Stick around, support them and watch them get better.