My friend isn’t depressed…are they? Key signs to lookout for and how you can help.
Your best friend skips out on Friday night’s party…again. The weekend before that, they ditched going to the school football game because they “couldn’t get out of bed.” What is up with them lately? They used to love doing those things! But now it seems like they always have some excuse for their constant distance, and when you do hang out, it just doesn’t feel like the same fun-loving person you’ve always known. Could they be depressed?
What if I told you 3.2 million people in Canada are at risk for developing depression? Now, what if I told you that number only covers the amount of Canadian teens between ages 12-19? It’s a scary thought, but it’s true. Depression affects more and more teens each year, and the crazy part is there may be someone in your life suffering from depression and you might not even realize it.
How am I supposed to know if someone is depressed?
Depression affects everyone differently, but these are some major red flags you should be looking out for:
- You’ve noticed they’ve been feeling blue more often. .
- Their grades went downhill.
- They’ve been awol lately. They don’t want to hang around you/their other friends as much anymore, or not at all.
- Their favorite activities no longer seem to be of interest.
- . They seem angry and irritable.
- They never have any energy.
- They say things like, “No one would miss me if I was gone,” or other mentions of suicide.
Okay…that sounds like someone I know; what does this mean?
Depression is serious and scary for many reasons. One of the most frightening reasons being that where there’s depression, thoughts of suicide are often lurking around the corner. It’s important to be there for someone you feel may be suffering, however understand it’s not something you can cure on your own and not something you should try to fix.
So what can I do?
- Let them know you’re there. No one likes feeling alone, especially when facing a challenge like depression.
- Welcome them to open up. A great way to start the conversation is, “I’ve noticed you’ve been feeling pretty down lately, so I wanted to check in with you.”
- Give them your support and fill them with hope.
- Encourage them to seek help. Depression is not something you can combat on your own.
- Stay away from judgment. Remember, it was probably hard for them to open up.
- If you think someone may be contemplating suicide, find help immediately.
Depression is not something that should be kept a secret. Let’s end the stigma of mental health issues. The more we talk, the more we can help.
By Mariann Roberts