May 10, 2016

How to help a friend who suffers from depression…a few good tips…

Photo from healthination.com

Photo from healthination.com

It’s mental health awareness month, and with depression and other mental health disorders being especially pervasive issues on college campuses it is important to be able to recognize symptoms of an emotional disorder and also to know what to say/not say to someone who is suffering.

According to NPR’s article “Depression On The Rise In College Students,” there are several signs and behaviors that are warnings for the development of depression. These include distancing oneself from friends, losing interest in things and/or activities they once enjoyed, becoming easily irritated with/and having angry outbursts towards close friends and family members, experiencing changes in eating or sleeping patterns, and sudden, unexplainable episodes of bursts of emotion (usually tearfulness).

Today.com published an article called “What To Say (and Not Say) to Someone Who Is Depressed” back in November: it’s a great read and we recommend that you look over it in its entirety if you’re struggling with what to say/what to do for your friend or family member who is depressed. In short, here’s what to say/not to say.
Do say:
“I’m here for you.”
“Let’s do something.”
“I don’t know exactly what you’re feeling but it has to be hard.”
*Sometimes you don’t need to say anything: listening is important too.
Don’t say:
Something along the lines of “All you need is a little retail therapy.”
“Don’t you want to get better?”
“Oh, hey, I was depressed once.”
“Suck it up, there are people worse off than you.”

One of the things we especially pride ourselves on here at USC is our Trojan Family, and part of being a good family member is being there for each other. Watch out for each other, support each other, and make sure your friends realize how much you value them and how important they are to your life. Good luck with the rest of your finals, everyone, and have a great summer!