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What to Do When a Loved One Is Severely Depressed

Due to two high profile US suicides over the past week there has been a slew of articles about what people can do if they sense that someone close to them is struggling with life, has depression, or is talking about ending their life.

"What to Do When a Loved One Is Severely Depressed" from the New York Times by Heather Mills seems to me one of be the best:
There are no easy answers for helping someone struggling with depression, especially if you’ve already tried and tried. Here are some tips from experts.
The tips:
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of showing up
  2. Don’t try to cheer him up or offer advice
  3. It’s O.K. to ask if she is having suicidal thoughts
  4. Take any mention of death seriously
  5. Make getting to that first appointment as easy as possible
  6. Take care of yourself and set boundaries
  7. Remember, people do recover from depression

As I mentioned in "U OK hun - It's All About The Timing", the power of 'merely' showing up with out a goal except to be standing alongside should never be underestimated. If you are feeling you need help then connect with a close friend and say, "I'm in a bad place, but I'm not ready to talk about it, Can you help me distract myself?"

And one for the true and, initially, courageous people is tip #3, "It’s O.K. to ask if she is having suicidal thoughts". The power of asking and expecting an answer (which can be a simple "yes" or "no) can be like having a dose of cold reality thrown into the/my face. Whenever Liz asked me that, and she did after learning that it wasn't up to her to resolve the answer, it always dragged me up, straightened me out - reality, did I really want to do that. And, it's now out of the headspace and out ... that's a grand thing.

And so, if you want to help these are truly wonderful, simple, and very powerful steps to take.
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of showing up
  2. Don’t try to cheer him up or offer advice
  3. It’s O.K. to ask if she is having suicidal thoughts
  4. Take any mention of death seriously
  5. Make getting to that first appointment as easy as possible
  6. Take care of yourself and set boundaries
  7. Remember, people do recover from depression
Go well, kia kaha.
Never alone.



WHERE TO GET HELP

New Zealand

  • 1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.
  • Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.
  • thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626
  • Anxiety New Zealand - 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
If it is an emergency or you, or someone you know, is at risk call 111.

UK (via the BBC)

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