Depression

Sadness and grief are very normal human emotions. However when sadness lasts longer than usual, it can affect all parts of your life, and stop you from enjoying things. If you notice a friend losing interest in things they used to love, you may want to reach out and help them through this rough patch.

What it feels like

Doing anything feels like it requires mountains of effort. You may feel tired or lacking in energy, have difficulty concentrating and making decisions. You may also eat much more or much less than you used to, and find it difficult to get to sleep or that you sleep much more than you used to.

What you can do to support in the first 24-48 hours: 
  • Get in touch

  • Let them know you want to help

  • See if they want to talk about how they’re feeling - be there, listen without judgement

  • Try to determine if they have any plans to self-harm, or suicidal ideation.

  • See if they are willing to speak to a mental health professional or GP about the way they feel. Offer to research possible practitioners, accompany them to an appointment and help support them

Providing Support 

Overcoming depression is not a quick process. Avoid pressuring your friend - don’t tell them to cheer up, or to snap out of it. Give them time, understanding and support as they work through this illness

Emotional Support
  • Let them know you care

  • Let them talk about how they feel

  • Talk through their worries, concerns and plans for the future

  • Let them know the ways you are able to support them (emotional, practical, financial)

  • Encourage them when they are attempting to move forwards

  • Encourage them to keep up regular social events and hobbies

Practical Support
  • Make regular plans to catch-up in person

  • Set up times to engage in hobbies they previously enjoyed

  • If your friend seems suicidal or at risk of self-harm, talk them through creating a safety plan:

  •  Identify their warning signs (thoughts, moods, situations and behaviours) that put them at risk of harm. 

  • Identify activities or tasks that can help mitigate these events and calm them down – such as listening to a favourite song, going for a walk, having a walk bath, spending time with a friend. 

  • Then identify their reasons for living – these can be pretty individual. These are the things that remind your friend what they enjoy about life, and why it’s worth staying alive – it can be their pet, family, friends, partner, a place they’d like to travel to or a goal they’d like to achieve.

  • Finish by listing the names and contact details of some people they can contact if they need someone to talk to – list a few in case some aren’t available when needed. This can be a parent, a spouse, friend, teacher, colleague – anyone that makes you feel better. Also add some professional support numbers, where you can speak to a mental health professional.

1 Week on what now?

Most think about depression as feeling sadness, but sometimes sadness isn’t always present. It can also be anxiety, apathy, guilt, hopelessness or being completely numb, unable to feel nothing at all. Doing anything feels like it requires mountains of effort. You may feel tired or lacking in energy, have difficulty concentrating and making decisions. You may also eat much more or much less than you used to, and find it difficult to get to sleep or that you sleep much more than you used to.

Providing support in the long term
  • Make an effort to stay in touch

  • Keep reminding them you are here for them and want to help

  • See if they want to talk about how they’re feeling - be there, listen without judgement

  • Ask how they’re going with getting professional help – encourage them to if they are not going, and if they are, check if they are happy with their supports or need something different

Emotional Support

Overcoming depression is not a quick process. Avoid pressuring your friend - don’t tell them to cheer up, or to snap out of it. Give them time, understanding and support as they work through this illness.

  • Let them know you care

  • Let them talk about how they feel

  • Talk through their worries, concerns and plans for the future

  • Let them know the ways you are able to support them (emotional, practical, financial)

  • Encourage them when they are attempting to move forwards

  • Encourage them to keep up regular social events and hobbies

Practical Support
  • Make regular plans to catch-up in person

  • Set up times to engage in hobbies they previously enjoyed

  • Encourage them to join you for walks, runs or any other kind of exercise. Being active has been proven to be a mood booster, and will give them a bonus sense of achievement for having done something in the day

Who can help?
Service that can help

Lifeline

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Mensline

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Reachout.com

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Service Directories

Ask Izzy

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Health direct

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WA Connect

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Professional Helpers

Counsellor

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General Practitioner (GP)

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Psychologist

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Psychotherapist

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