My Friend Needs Help

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When you need guidance, too.

It can be just as difficult to watch someone going through a personal crisis or through depression as it is actually like going through it yourself. You can help, however, and here are some ways.

First, learn to recognize the signs and symptoms that someone is having a difficult time.

While symptoms vary from person to person, they generally include:

  • Feeling sad, down or “empty”
  • Losing interest in activities that were once fun
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or helpless
  • Feeling irritable or restless
  • Changes in appetite, losing or gaining weight
  • Sleeping poorly or oversleeping
  • Feeling tired or decreased energy
  • Feeling guilty all the time
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

Listen and don’t judge.
Sometimes, the natural response is to fix the problem. But more important, let your loved one know that you’re there to listen—not to give advice, opinions or criticism (Statements like, “Just get out of bed!” could make the situation even worse.) Offer your time and compassion, and use positive reinforcement to remind them how much she means to everyone.

Offer help.
Around the house, grocery shopping, taking the kids to their lessons or with homework. Ask what she needs help with the most and then take care of it yourself or enlist a circle of support to help.

Find agencies and services for professional help.
If you’re concerned about a family member, friend or loved one, call us at (901) CRISIS-7 or (901) 274-7477. As your point of entry, our trained volunteers will get you connected to the professional services your friend needs, like counselors or other medical professionals. We’ll provide you with names, phone numbers and other important information.

Encourage your friend to stick with treatment.
It may take several appointments or weeks for the medicine to be effective. If so, keep reminding your loved one that she WILL feel better and that she is doing the right thing. Also ask check in to see if she’s attending appointments and taking the medications. Just knowing you’re keeping an eye on her could be enough to motivate her to continue seeking treatment.

Take care of yourself too.
Don’t forget you need care and rest too. Ask others to help when and if you feel tired, frustrated or burned out. And take time for the things you enjoy—hobbies, friends, exercise, spiritual renewal.