6 Incredible Ways to Support a Friend with Depression & Anxiety

At least one person you know today suffers from one form of mental illness or another. Be it anxiety or depression, that is why we need to learn more about these mental illnesses so we can support them when the need arises

The first thing anyone learning about mental illness can do is to identify the signs and symptoms so as to spot them when they show up.

There are people who think that depressed people are attention seekers and their conditions aren’t real. Believe me, when I say this is real. 

There’re depressed people all over. Some have minor cases like just feeling sad and a little anxious while others have quite severe conditions and these people are mostly those who attempt suicide.

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a condition that causes serious disorder in a person’s behavior or thinking, it may also affect the mood of a person.

Most Common Types of Mental Illnesses

  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety disorder 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Dementia 
  • Attention-deficit/ Hyperactivity disorder 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorder 
  • Autism 

What is Depression?

Depression is a medical condition in which a person is usually so unhappy that they cannot live a normal life. If this should continue, the situation may go beyond control and in some cases, people with this mental illness take their own lives. 

Medical advice should always be taken from a professional. Families and friends should also do their best to support in whichever way they can.

Common Symptoms of Depression

  • Inability to sleep
  • Mood swings 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Fatigue 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Low level of energy 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety refers to the physical, mental and behavioral changes we feel in response to a threat. Anxiety disorders share an extreme sense of fear. People dealing with anxiety go through some changes which prepares them to respond to danger.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Uneasiness 
  • Panic attack 
  • Restlessness 
  • Digestive disturbance 
  • Excessive sweating 

How to Support a Depressed and Anxious Friend

When it comes to supporting people with depression or anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help in this situation. Note that, what you do and how you do it will determine the recovering time of the patient. 

Being supportive is all about care, time and attention. If you do these things right, you can be a good support for your loved ones.

6 Incredible Ways to Support a Friend with Depression & Anxiety

Always Listen

Supporting a depressed friend has to be more than just trying to put together the best advice for them. Although your advice can be the best without saying, the first most important thing anyone can help with is to listen. 

In fact, how would you know how exactly they feel if all you care about is filling their heads with your thoughts? 

Always listen and understand how they feel before giving out any advice. That’s the best way to approach such situations.

Light up a Candle of Hope

For people who have experienced depression or anxiety know how worrying a thing it can be. And those who have been with depressed persons know exactly how stressful the situation can get. 

Choosing the right words at the right time can become a big problem for many. What you should know is no one has the right word(s) or ideally, the perfect words. 

However, it is very important you don’t say things that would depress them the more. Instead, say comforting words which can reinstate some level of belief in them.

Take Depressed Friends Away from Home

Staying at home can be boring. It is always a good idea to try a new, different but exciting environment for some fresh breeze and to take your mind off some things. 

This is ideal for everyone but with someone with a mental disorder, this is one perfect move. Who knows if there are memories at home which keep torturing them. 

A day out to no man’s land will be sufficient in distressing them from all that has been happening lately. Fill the day with fun if you can but if they decide to stay cool instead, nature is always a perfect stare.

Spend Quality Time with Depressed & Anxious Friends

Anxious and depressed persons are mostly lonely people. You won’t want to keep allowing them to feel this way. 

Don’t give them space to get lost in their own thoughts as most of these persons are likely to attempt suicide. Spend enough time with them so they feel they aren’t alone.

Learn More About Mental Illness

Another way you can help a loved one dealing with mental health is to get enough knowledge about their condition. 

The more knowledge you have about mental health issues the more help you have to offer and you'll always make the best decisions when it comes to giving them your maximum supports.

Engage Depressed Friends in Fun Activities

You can help take their mind off their lonely life for a couple of hours. You can either visit a game center to watch your favorite soccer match or bring fun to the house if going out is a problem. 

Get a PlayStation or Xbox and have some fun. Please allow them to win even if you play better than them. They deserve some happiness.

The girls, on the other hand, can get them to look their best by doing their makeup and polishing their nails. You can also spend time watching their favorite movie but it should be something exciting like comedy and not emotional as this can worsen their condition.

6 Incredible Ways to Support a Friend with Depression & Anxiety 

Final Thoughts on How to Support a Depressed or Anxious Friend.

These tips on how to be a supportive friend to someone who is mentally ill is essential in the process of recovery. 

Although these are minor supports, they are enough to establish some thought of love for the patient. Try to spend enough time but quality ones with them and help them distract from things that make them sad and more depressed. 

Make them laugh, and listen attentively to what they have to say. It’s really important that you do not make any hasty decision or take any action that can jeopardize the situation or even make it worse.

Your turn! Have you ever supported someone with mental illness? How did you do it? Please share your incredible tips with us. 

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