Seek help together!
It’s not always easy to help someone who is experiencing depression or anxiety. The person often won’t see the point of doing anything and may feel that no one can really help. He or she may not have the energy to get the professional help they need on their own.
People with depression or anxiety can become withdrawn, lack confidence and motivation. This can make it difficult for them to take the first step in seeking help.
They may also feel awkward or embarrassed about approaching a health professional.
That’s when you as a friend or family member can play a really important role - reassuring the person that things will be okay, emphasising the importance of getting professional help and supporting the person to get the appropriate help.
If you think someone may be experiencing depression or anxiety, encourage him/her to see a General Practitioner (GP) or counsellor. You might also offer to go with the person if he/she does decide to speak to someone about how the way he/she is feeling.
How to help out
You can help the person you’re worried about by:
- Indicating that you’ve noticed a change in his/her behaviour and/or that he/she isn’t behaving as usual - and that you’re concerned
- Encouraging the person to talk about how he/she is feeling
- Reassuring the person that depression and anxiety are common, but can be treated and managed. Stress that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about - and that he/she doesn’t have to feel this way
- Explaining to the person that with the right treatment he/she can get back to feeling the way they were.
You can also:
- Help the person get good quality information about depression, anxiety and the range of treatments available
- Assist him/her to find a health professional such as a General Practitioner (GP). You’ll find a list of doctors and health professionals with special expertise in treating depression and anxiety on the beyondblue website.
- Assist the person to make the appointment with the doctor
- Ask how the appointment went
- Keep in touch and encourage close friends and family to do the same
- Encourage the person’s friends to be supportive and make the effort to keep in touch with the person - even if the person might not seem interested or seems to be dropping out of the crowd - remember, this is part of the illness and not a lack of interest in you and/or their friends
- Encourage your friendship group to talk openly about depression/anxiety and reinforce that it’s a common, treatable illness just the same as a physical illness and is nothing to be ashamed of - just the same as diabetes or asthma.