What Should You Do If a Friend Is Showing Signs of Severe Depression?


Quick Answer

Aid a friend showing signs of severe depression by encouraging her to seek appropriate treatment, listening to her talk, recommending available support resources, and assuring her that she deserves to get better, according to PsychCentral. If the depression is severe enough to warrant hospitalization, sympathetically suggest that your friend voluntarily check into a treatment facility, and only seek involuntary hospitalization as a last resort, suggests the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

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Full Answer

It is sometimes helpful accompany a depressed friend to therapy appointments, explains PsychCentral. If the friend insists she does not want or need treatment, continue reminding her the she deserves help. If she still refuses, depending on the severity and circumstances of her condition, it may be appropriate to ask others, such as close family members or other friends, to encourage her to receive help as well.

Indicators that someone is in crisis and may require hospitalization include suicidal or homicidal threats or attempts, as well as severe disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns, notes the DBSA. Substance-abuse problems and severe difficulty taking care of one's basic needs are other signs of a depressed person in crisis. When urging a friend to seek voluntary hospitalization, explain to her that seeking help does not make her a failure. Remind her that no one but the people she chooses to tell have to know about the hospitalization.

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