How to help someone who’s depressed, suicidal

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Depression is a chronic illness that has invisible signs.  IT IS REAL. We decided to tell you how to spot, approach and help someone who’s depressed, and what not to do and say in a situation like this.

Understand that depression does not equal to sadness. Similarly, you must learn everything you can about depression.

 

Spotting depression:

Look for the following signs in a person:

  • Doesn’t really care about life or priorities anymore.
  • Expresses negativity about life.
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns.
  • Abnormal eating patterns.
  • Tends to find comfort in alcohol and drugs.
  • Prefers to stay ‘high’ rather than being sober.
  • Talks often about suicide, harming oneself and a mental preoccupation with death.
  • Acting rash and in self-destructive ways.
  • Seeking out sleeping pills, drugs, weapons and other lethal objects.
  • Portrays a sudden sense of calm after an episode of depression.
  • Gets affairs in orders and starts sending goodbye messages out of the blue.

How to approach a friend who might be depressed/suicidal:

  • Try not to give advice until asked for it.
  • Give pragmatic advice if asked for it.
  • Focus on being a good listener.
  • Try to point out the positives.
  • Make the person see things in a better light.
  • Show compassion.
  • DO NOT judge.

What you SHOULD say and do:

  • You are not alone.
  • I may not understand your pain but I understand where you’re coming from.
  • I’m here for you.
  • I’ll stand by you, we’ll fight the world together.
  • You are important to me.
  • Provide unconditional validation to the person.
  • Be patient.
  • Try small gestures of affection.
  • Simple, be there.

What you should NEVER say or do:

  • You’re stupid.
  • It’s your fault.
  • You’re weak.
  • What’s wrong with you?
  • Snap out of it.
  • It’s all in your head.
  • Do not make comparisons.