Depression: How To Help Depressed Loved Ones

December 11, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My best friend, “Natalie,” is depressed. She says that she’s okay, but I can tell she’s not herself.

     Her boyfriend broke up with her last month and since then she’s been depressed and doesn’t want to go out or do anything. She’s been missing work and cutting classes, which is very unlike her. She’s always taken school and her work responsibilities very seriously.

     Nowadays, she just sits at home in front of the t.v., depressed, eating junk food. She’s gained at least 10 pounds.

     I’m worried about her. What can I do to help her?

Concerned Friend

Dear friend,

     It sounds as though your friend is suffering from depression. Continue to give Natalie your shoulder to lean on by being supportive, understanding, and patient. When you talk to her, listen carefully to what she has to say. Depression, even in mild form, is a serious matter.

     Under no circumstances ignore her comments about suicide. Report any of these comments to Natalie’s therapist or physician, if she makes them.

     Continue to invite her to go out, even on walks or other low-key activities. Remind her that with time and treatment, this too shall pass.

     It is important that you encourage Natalie to make an appointment with a medical doctor and/or a mental health professional so that she can obtain treatment for her depression. She is fortunate to have someone as caring as you for a friend. Please let me know how things work out!

My very best,

Kathy

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