Depression: it’s a “we” problem

AARON SMITH | COLUMNIST Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dealing with depression is just like raising a child: It takes a village. And going through it alone does not help anyone.

People do not understand the realness behind depression and how to handle those who have it. A lot of your best friends can very well be in a deep state and the only way out is by the help of the people around them. For those giving assistance to people with this condition–and in honor of October as Depression Awareness month–here are some easy tips on what to do and what not to do:

  • Do not pry for information — just because you want to talk, doesn’t mean they do, and pushing just causes more backlash.
  • Patience is key — if you hate waiting in doctor’s offices for long periods of time, this will be hard. Waiting is the epitome of dealing with depression because they all need time to handle everything.
  • Food, just food — if you want the perfect bonding idea, or an easy way to get closer to the person, provide something as simple as food. The most well-known and easy-to-find item is pizza, unless they are gluten-free, then try gluten-free pasta. Perhaps the most obvious way is just to ask what the person wants.
  • Attendance is partially mandatory — while attendance isn’t always recorded, trends are noticed. Missing a few conversations or helpful moments is not the end of the world. It’s more of the idea that you’re trying to help. They notice.
  • Hugs — Everyone has probably heard that a hug can help even those with the toughest skin. Don’t be afraid to give a warm embrace, they may not express much at the moment, but on the inside it means the world.

These helpful tips are a surefire way to help bring you closer to that person that needs assistance. Depression is a real problem, and it can consume the lives of many people. It has also taken the lives of many people. Just because someone does not specifically scream for help, don’t ignore any unusual signs.

You know your friend, cousin, brother or whomever better than the rest of the world. Always remember they can’t go through it alone. It takes a village.