While mental illness is one of the most difficult things someone can go through, it’s rough on loved ones as well. Not knowing how to help a depressed friend can actually affect your mental health as well. For this reason, it’s important to understand what does and does not help someone struggling with depression. By knowing what to do when your friend is struggling with depression, your friend will get the help and support they need.
How to Help a Depressed Friend by Listening
One of the biggest struggles that people deal with when trying to figure out how to help a depressed friend is knowing what to say. It’s actually a good thing that you care and want to say something that can help them, but it’s much more complicated than that. Saying the wrong thing when a friend is going through depression can lead to an argument or worse feelings of depression. Here are some of the common things you should never say to someone dealing with depression:
- ”Cheer up.”
- ”Things aren’t that bad.”
- ”Try thinking about positive things.”
- ”It seems like you’re over exaggerating things.”
In the depressed brain, the information coming in processes differently, and saying the wrong thing can make things worse. The best thing you can do when you’re trying to help a depressed friend is to simply listen. In many cases, the person just wants to be heard and is not looking for any type of advice in the situation. This can be difficult because you want to help, but always remember that listening is one of the best ways to help.
How to Help a Depressed Friend Through Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing is a technique many therapists use, but there are simple ways you can use it to help your friend. Motivational interviewing involves asking questions to help the person come to their own conclusion. This seems contradictory to the advice about simply listening, but you can put yourself in a better position by asking permission. By simply asking, “Would you like my suggestion?” can put you in a position to offer assistance.
When doing motivational interviewing, it’s important to ask questions like, “What do you think would help you right now?” A question like this helps to redirect the person’s focus on solutions rather than the problem. Another great question to ask is, “Have you considered getting help for your depression?” This way, the person can answer questions and begin taking the proper steps towards getting help.
How to Help a Depressed Friend Through Seeking Therapy
A common mistake loved ones make is thinking that they can fix the person’s depression. Depression is a complicated mental illness, which is why your friend needs the help of a Houston depression therapy psychiatrist. PACE Mental Health Houston is here to help your friend through the following services:
Learn more about how to help a depressed friend by calling PACE at 866.971.8423.