Worried about a friend’s depression?
If you’ve noticed a friend has become withdrawn or is exhibiting a change in behaviour, you maybe concerned they’re experiencing depression.
At some point you may have a friend that has experienced a stressful event, or is grieving, their feelings of sadness might last for a while.
How do I recognise if someone is depressed?
It’s normal for someone to feel down or sad at times during their life. The term “depression” is sometimes used to describe feelings of sadness.
Depression is also the name for a group of mental health problems, which affect the way someone feels and are characterised by a persistent low mood.
When someone is depressed they can feel a range of things including:
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Losing interest in activities they usually enjoy
- A lack of energy
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Crying a lot or feeling agitated
- High use of alcohol or other drugs
- Losing their temper
- Withdrawing from the group
- Headaches or stomach aches
- Feeling empty
- Feeling anxious.
Sometimes people become depressed in response to a particular situation or sometimes it can occur for no apparent reason.
Things that can trigger depression include:
- A history of depression within the family
- A stressful event or chain of events such as a family break-up, child abuse, ongoing bullying at school, rape, a death, a relationship break up, family conflict
- Having a baby (postnatal depression).
People experiencing depression can sometimes have suicidal thoughts. If your friend expresses feelings like this, take them seriously and encourage them to seek help. If they are reluctant to seek help, then you should turn to someone for advice and support in managing the situation.
A family member, teacher, doctor or psychologist may be a good first step. Check face-to-face help for information about who they can talk to and how.
Thoughts of taking their life
If your friend continues to have suicidal thoughts let them know if you think they will hurt themselves you will have to tell someone. If they’re scared about telling someone else you can offer to go with them for support.
Services like Aware are also there to help people who are worried about their friends or family members. Don’t hesitate to talk to someone if you feel you need to.
Getting help for depression
There are a lots of things your friend can do to manage their depression. Remember, it can take time and there may be good days and not so good ones.
For details and information about the ways of dealing with depression, take a look at management and treatment options.
For information and advice on getting support and who to talk to, go to face-to-face help.