Dealing with depression is a mammoth thing as it is, and only those who have gone through it or are going through it knows the pain. If you genuinely want to help someone who is dealing with depression, then one of the best things you can do is support them and be there for them.
Suicide usually becomes a national topic when a celebrity or public figure dies from it. It’s a difficult subject to discuss due to the stigma still attached and it does feel easier to post a national suicide hotline on social media rather than have those difficult conversations. Although calling a number can save a life, most people in a suicidal state do not have the will to dial those numbers. When your mental health is suffering, actively seeking help is almost impossible.
According to the World Health Organization, a person takes their own life every forty seconds and in the U.S. alone, there are 25 attempts for every successful suicide. It is a global issue that not only results in the loss of life but affects millions of people who are left asking questions that they will never get answers to. In most cases, those who have experienced a suicide attempt experienced debilitating depression leading up to their decision. As reported by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), most than 90% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.
I am not a psychiatrist or a mental health professional, but what I do know, I know from experience. Two years ago, I tried to take my own life. Luckily, I was rushed to the hospital in time, got the help I needed, and to this day, continue to recover. In the last two years since then, I’ve experienced numerous bouts of depression but because of my support system, it has never gotten to the point where suicide was an option again.
A major way to prevent suicide or help those that are on the verge of it is to identify early signs of depression. It is so easy to feel helpless when watching someone you love struggle but there are several things you can do to help. Below are some of the ways to help those in need and possibly prevent the loss of life.
Here Are 5 Ways To Help Someone Who Is Dealing With Depression
1. Be Present.
You may not know exactly what someone is going through, but let them know that you’re there…and genuinely mean it. I remember a few days before my incident, a friend told me to come over. She knew I had been going through a very difficult time, and like a good friend, she wanted to be there for me.
At the time, I didn’t want to be alone, so I took her in on that offer. What I thought would be an hour or two of conversation and much-needed distraction became an hour or two of watching her scroll through her phone.
I know she didn’t mean any harm, but it made me feel even more alone. In my mind, this person really wasn’t there. She was sitting in front of me, but she wasn’t present. A few days later, I was in the hospital.
When you’re trying to help a friend, give them 100% of your attention. Put your phone away, sit with them, and listen. Whether they decide to talk or not, dedicate that time to your friend. Your presence means more than you will ever know.
2. Continue to check-in.
If you know someone is not in a great state, and you haven’t heard from them, get in touch. A simple text or phone call can make a huge difference. Even if they are not engaged or responsive, that message sitting in their text app signifies that they are not alone.