A Friend Can Save A Life: A Friend Making A Difference
Her smile is fake.
The cuts sting,
Her phone rings.
And thinks life’s a bore.
But she doesn’t know
There are people who care.
She doesn’t know
That they’ve always been there.
She’s tired of being joked at school,
She’s tired of being called a fool.
She’s ready to pull out the knife,
Ready to end her life.
There she sits alone crying,
Wondering about if she were dying.
“Would they even notice I was gone?”
“Or would they just carry on?”
As she lures the knife,
She hears a strange sound.
She hides the blade,
As her heart pounds.
She walks out the door,
There’s her best friend,
Trying to get in.
As her friend cried, she heard her say,
“Thank God you’re okay!”
~ Paige Bryant
If you want to be there for a friend who’s been diagnosed with depression, you’re already a great friend. But even when you have really good intentions, it can be hard to know exactly how to help a friend with depression and what to say to a depressed friend. If you’re wondering what to do if your friend has depression, check out our tips for helping a friend with depression, but remember to look after yourself, too.
1. Become informed: Not totally sure what depression is or what it means for your friend? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression – which will help you better understand what they’re going through.
2. Be there to listen: If your friend feels like talking, ask them how they’re going. Try asking questions like, “What can I do to help?” and “What do you find helpful?” When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when you’re both comfortable and relaxed. It’s a good idea to avoid talking to them about it if they’re upset.
3. Take their feelings seriously: If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them just to ‘snap out of it’, ‘cheer up’ or ‘forget about it’. When you listen to them and validate their feelings by saying things like ‘That must be really hard’ or ‘I’m here when you want to talk’, they’ll know you’re taking their feelings seriously.
4. Let them know about support services: If your friend has already seen a GP or mental health professional, that’s awesome. You could let them know there are also online and email counselling services. You could also recommend the ReachOut NextStep tool, which recommends relevant support options based on what the person wants help with.
5. Respond to emergencies: If you think your friend may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else, seek help immediately. Call 000 to reach emergency services and also tell someone you trust.
6. Take care of yourself: It can be incredibly frustrating, exhausting and upsetting to deal with someone who is experiencing depression. You can be there to support your friend only if you look after yourself first.