Friendship Day 2022: How to help your friend deal with depression
Friendship Day 2022: It is your silent support and practical help that could ease your friend's daily hardships. Here are ways to help your friend cope with depression.
Friendship Day 2022: A good friend probably understands you better than anyone else in the world. A loved one's support during a tough battle with depression could make all the difference and help one see light at the end of the dark tunnel. It's understandable that people usually do not know what to say to a depressed person or what they can do to make them feel better. Experts say all that is required is your presence in their life even when they do not really have much to talk. (Also read: International Friendship Day 2022: Date, history, significance, celebrations and all you want to know)
It is your silent support and practical help that could ease your friend's daily hardships be it making an appointment with an expert, helping them buy groceries to cooking for them on days they can't muster up enough courage to get up from their bed. A friend can sense when their buddy might be thinking of harming themselves and could get the required help in such emergency situations.
"Friends can be of immense support while going through major life stressors. To support a friend going through depression it is imperative to have knowledge about depression and to make sure that the knowledge comes from a correct source. One must understand that depression is an illness and not simply a problem of thoughts where the thoughts can be just shrugged off," says Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road.
One needs to be sensitive while supporting a friend with depression and careful enough to not judge them for their behaviour. While suffering from depression, one loses interest in daily life and their life comes to a standstill. Slowly and steadily, you can nudge your friend towards light encouraging them to do involve themselves in one meaningful activity at a time.
"Encourage your friend to seek professional help or join a help group," says Dr Anand.
Depression can also make you feel lonely and one of the reasons is you don't connect with people anymore and shut most of them off. Make your friend feel you are there for them no matter what.
"One more important thing is to not be biased and judgmental towards the friend suffering from depression. Support your friend by listening to them and keeping communication open," says the psychiatrist.
Guiding them through daily life
Depression could make you numb, slow and inactive. Every task may look like a big effort. But when you have someone standing right with you, things can ease a bit. Helping your friend with groceries, cooking and even treatment could be one of the factors that may help them recover early.
"Sometimes medication may be required. Make sure that your friend realises the importance of treatment and that depression is a treatable condition. Practical help is also required as the friend might find difficulties in daily living. You can offer to help in groceries or cooking. You can ask them to join in walking or even do some exercises at home together. Refrain from alcohol as it can aggravate depression in the long run," says Dr Sonal Anand.
Recognising the danger signals
Being in close proximity with your friend during a depressive episode also means you could sense if something is wrong and your friend is having self-harming thoughts.
"If you think that there is a danger that your friend may attempt suicide, then you must act and inform proper authorities, even if you feel that your friend is unwilling and does not want to communicate. The most important thing you can do for a friend with depression is to be there for them. The three ‘R’s should be remembered- recognition, realisation, and referral when required," concludes Dr Anand.