Helping a friend struggling with depression: Tips from Dr. Randy Auerbach


One in five adolescents will experience
depression. One of your friends or classmates very likely has experienced
depression or may experience depression at some time during their adolescence. Depression affects adolescents in very different ways. For some they’ll
experience sadness, irritability, or just might be tired. For others it might hurt
or it might feel like it will never end. And yet for some teens they may
experience suicidal thoughts. But it’s important to remember that suicide is a
permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you see a friend or classmate
struggling with depression it could be really overwhelming. It could be that it
triggers feelings of sadness, worry, or exasperation. And if that’s the case you
should take stock of how it’s affecting you and also seek out help or guidance
on how to manage these uncomfortable feelings. If you see something say
something. Talk to a parent, a teacher, a trusted adult, a guidance counselor. Talk to someone to figure out what resources you can find to help your friend in need. One of the best things you can do when your friend is struggling with
depression is simply to be supportive. Don’t feel like you have to be a
therapist. Be a friend and help them find the resources that they may need to
manage their depression. One incredible resource might be simply starting with
their physician. Most teens struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts do not seek help. Not getting treatment is a missed opportunity. Getting treatment earlier when the symptoms begin to arise will lead to better outcomes. And there
are now many therapies that were specifically designed to help teens
manage feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts. No one needs to
struggle with these issues alone. If you notice someone’s struggling talk with
them. Listen to them. And help them find the resources that they may need. Mental
illness touches all of us at some point in our lives. Talk about it and share your experiences with someone you trust. Pledge to live in a world without suicide. A world in which we find help for our friends and loved
ones.

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