Advice On Giving Advice on Depression.

20 Nov 2014

We tiptoe around the subject of depression and suicide all too much. I understand it's not a topic to discuss at the dinner or talk about on an everyday basis because it is a sensitive subject. However, because of this many don't know what to say or do to help a friend or a member of family through a difficult time like this. It could be that you just found out that someone close to you has been self harming or feeling low or maybe they were brave enough to come out and tell you but either way you still might not know what to do or how to act so I thought I would give you a bit of advice on giving advice yourself to someone you want t help. I'm no way trained to be giving this advice and the ideas I give may not work on certain people but I hope this might help one of you now or in the future.

In The Beginning.
If someone close to you tells you about what they've been going through, no matter how touch feely your relationship is hug them because they'll probably need it. Having said that, a lot of people don't want to tell people because they don't want things to change so maybe don't hug them if it's a dramatic difference to what you would usually do. If you feel yourself hugging is the wrong way to go just say that you will be there for them 24/7 whenever they need someone for something big or small. If they want to get out of the house for an hour you're there or if they want to be left alone the that's fine too.

They are some things I would personally avoid saying or something along these lines:
"You'l get over it"
"People have it worse"
"I went through the same thing last week when I lost my phone"

Saying these things will probably cause them to wish they hadn't told you and may actually make the situation worse.

Giving Advice.
They might ask you what they should do or you may want to help them yourself slightly to just be a good friend. I don't suggest printing off pages of research on depression or telling them to go see a therapist. I also wouldn't force them to tell an adult, whether it's a parent or teacher, unless you feel things aren't improving and you can tell things are getting worse.
One thing I would suggest them doing is keeping busy and distracting themselves. Keep busy will help them forget about those bad thoughts even if it is for half an hour. You can help with this by taking them shopping, for a coffee, to the cinema etc. Suggest for them to pick up a new hobby; baking's a good one or even knitting.

Something else I would suggest is that you could do is ask them if they keep a diary. If they don't maybe suggest it because it's a good way to let all your thoughts out because their might be things they still don't want to tell you. It will help them get it off their chest without telling a physical being.

Opening Up.
This is something I would not force at all because they will tell you when they're ready but all you can do for this to happen is to listen and when I say listen I mean listen. Your friend may give away little hints to why she's feeling bad just in everyday conversations. This can help you realise what makes your friend feel the way she does and hopefully will help you help your friend.

Be Careful.
Everything around mental illness' have to be done with care. It's not something that with you help will dispensary overnight. You have to be patient and help your friend for as long as they need. Don't make any drastic changes to your relationship because they will probably pick up on it and hate it. If you act like you feel sorry for them they'll feel you'r treating them like a younger sister and not a friend and hate it. Treat them the same and just make sure you're there for them. Don't expect them to give you all the answers or any at all about how they're feeling or how it started because quite often, they won't know themselves.

The best thing you do is there for them and make sure they know you're there.
I hope this helps and that you enjoyed reading this post.
Hope you're doing great,

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