I was as shocked as everyone else to learn that Robin Williams had killed himself. How could someone who made the world a happier and more humorous place feel so hollow on the inside that he took his own life? I think I didn’t realize how sincerely depressed he was or how simple it is to mask sentiments of hopelessness.
Unfortunately, people don’t realize how widespread this issue is; in 2012, an estimated 16 million American adults were diagnosed with depression.
People need treatment, but they aren’t getting it in a way that works for them, as evidenced by the fact that 38,364 people also committed suicide in 2010 alone.
I was inspired to learn how to assist someone with depression after watching tale after story about suicide and heartbreak.
What can we as regular people who lack the training to treat those who exhibit indications of depression and self-harm do to assist these folks?
There are at least four things you may do to support someone who is depressed, even though you might not be able to offer counseling.
1. SPEAKING WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT IS ONE OF THE EASIEST THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP SOMEONE WHO IS DEPRESSED. Over the past few years, I don’t believe a single day has gone by during which I didn’t see some sort of unfavorable remarks being made, whether online or in person.
Upon reflection, we are all accountable for speaking words that cause harm to others. Unfortunately, we will never truly be able to tell if the person to whom we are speaking negatively is depressed, considering self-harm, or suffers from another mental health condition that we are not aware of.
Words have great power.
Can you envision how things could alter if you made the choice to support others rather than continue to criticize them?
This is crucial if you come across someone who exhibits symptoms of signs of depression , such as being perpetually down, lacking in energy, and losing interest in activities they once found enjoyable.
The least you can do is smile or wave at these people if you can’t say anything good to them. Even the smallest actions can show someone you genuinely care about their wellbeing.
Over time, there has been a significant change in how we listen to individuals. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see two people conversing while sending texts on their phones thanks to technology.
Even while you might feel like you are multitasking at the time, you are actually depriving the person you are conversing with of important attention.
Your multitasking may come across as callous if you do this to a sad individual who already feels hopeless and unworthy. Even worse, the individual can believe they are less significant than the phone you are texting on or the recipient of your messages.
For the upcoming few seconds, try to picture this:
Imagine you are presenting a new product that you are very enthusiastic about to 20 people. You discover that practically everyone in the audience has used their phones at some point while you are speaking. As the presentation continues, you start to feel more and more disheartened since no one is paying you their entire attention. You begin talking negatively about yourself as you leave the room since you don’t think your product was valuable or eye-catching enough.
Imagine now what a depressed person might experience after anything like this. How much worse do you think a depressed person will act if a person without depression feels deflated? It’s likely that it won’t make them feel better about themselves in any way.
The moral of the story is that giving someone our FULL attention as we listen to them shows that we are prepared to ignore life’s distractions in order to concentrate on their unique wants and requirements.
Even if they simply speak a few words to you, at least you gave them the gift of quality time, something they may not have had in a long time.
3. Go with them when they visit a doctor or for a therapy session. A frightening experience might result from visiting a doctor or therapist, particularly if the depressed person is in such a deep slump and believes no one can assist. Additionally, it appears that receiving mental health treatment has a stigma, which frequently discourages people from seeking it out of concern that others would treat them badly in return (i.e. Youre too weak to fix this on your own).
In addition to making the person feel more comfortable, being there again shows that you are willing to spend time with the person.
4. NEVER PROFESS ADVICE BEYOND YOUR KNOWLEDGE Some of us have the innate desire to respond to issues with solutions. Despite our best efforts, our remarks sometimes come out as being judgemental or ignorant.
The truth is that we have no idea what someone suffering from depression is going through.
While there may be warning signs and symptoms along the road, we are unaware of the thoughts that are always running through their minds.
If you feel the need to talk to them about their depression, consider using a straightforward phrase like “I’m here for you” or “I care about you.” In order to avoid doing more harm than good, keep to your capacity to offer support and a caring heart and let the professionals handle dealing with the symptoms.
Even though you might not be able to treat someone’s sadness, just by offering them support, you might actually have a long-lasting effect on their lives.
The least you can do is smile at a stranger, ask the grocery store clerk how her day is going, or do a random act of kindness since there are millions of people in our society today who are suffering from this dreadful mental illness.
I send you my best wishes for happiness in this world.