Depression is the most common mental illness amongst teens, and while it can become serious, it is treatable and manageable. Here are some ways to help a friend who is living with depression.
Talk to someone
Learning your friend is living with depression can be overwhelming and bring up strange, new emotions. Talking to someone, whether it’s a parent, friend, sibling or counsellor, can help you deal with your emotions and realize that what you’re experiencing is normal.
Listen more than you talk
Right now your friend needs your support and that often means listening more than talking. Be a soundboard and a compassionate ear before you offer any advice. People with depression benefit from talking about their feelings face-to-face, so just being there and listening is doing wonders for their healing.
Image Paulo Otavio
Talk about stress
Stress is a leading cause of depression, and the teenage years are a stressful time. Ask your friend what is causing them stress to help them talk through their emotions and hopefully come to a solution. Include yourself in the conversation: let your friend know that that the math test has you worrying as well, but that it will all be OK. Remember this conversation is for your friend—putting yourself in it just reminds them that they’re not the only one feeling the pressure.
Get them out and about
Depression can cause people to hole up in their houses alone, skipping out on the activities they once found fulfilling and fun. Offer to do something fun with your friend, even if it is just a short walk around the block or a quick tea and chat at the local café. You don’t want to be pushy or forceful if they really aren’t interested, but remind them that getting out and laughing is good for the soul and will make them feel better.
Depression affects people in different ways and your friend may be vocal about what they need from you, but keep an eye out for ways to help boost your friend’s mood and get them enjoying life again.
Feature image Mariano Garcia-Gaspar