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How social connection can help those with depression

Major depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world, so it’s likely that someone you know, or love, has been affected. Depression is incredibly common and can make people feel alone and isolated.

Depression is a medical condition. It’s not a weakness!  Knowing how to talk to someone living with depression can be a great way to support them.

While reaching out to someone with depression cannot cure them, you can always tell them they are not alone. Be there for them, even if you do not have a similar personal experience.

If you have had depression, you can share that you know what they’re going through. This can help them relate. However, keep the focus on them. Remember to listen first.

More simply acknowledge that you realise how hard it is for them. Acknowledging how hard depression and its symptoms can be can help them feel heard and seen.

A good way to start a conversation with someone who has depression could be as simple as saying " Do you want to talk about it? I’m here when you’re ready."

You cannot force someone to talk but knowing you are available can really help them feel supported.

If they are not ready to talk now, remind them you are here for them when they’re ready. When they are having a hard time and need someone to talk to, they may remember your offer and come to you.

Reminding someone that you are there for them whenever they need you — whether that’s in the form of a visit or someone to call in a crisis can be so essential to saving a life!

Sometimes you just need to listen. Helping does not have to be a huge effort. It can be as simple as having a chat over a cuppa, sharing an activity, or driving them to an appointment.

The fact is there is no perfect thing to say to someone living with depression. Your words will not cure them. But they can help.

If someone you love has depression, encourage them to seek professional help if they have not already done so. Remind them that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Depression, if left untreated or undiagnosed, is especially dangerous.

If you know of someone that may benefit from extra professional help, the below information will be useful.

Helplines:

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

  • Free counselling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across Australia
  • Suicide call back service provides free phone, video and online counselling for anyone affected by suicide
  • The suicide call back service is a 24 hour, nationwide service that provides telephone and online counselling to people over 15 who fit any one of the following categories:
    • People who are suicidal
    • People caring for someone who is suicidal
    • People bereaved by suicide
    • Health professionals supporting people affected by suicide
  • The suicide call back service is especially suited to people who are geographically or emotionally isolated

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

  • Advice and support for anxiety and depression
  • Suicide and crisis support
  • Immediate support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • They will listen, provide information and advice and point you in the right direction so you can seek further support.

Elder Abuse Helpline

Salvation Army 137 258

The Salvation Army offers support for issues such as:

  • Loneliness, depression, grief, anger, stress, parenting problems, relationship problems, suicide bereavement, surviving sexual abuse, family violence

Lifeline 13 11 14

  • Listen to your situation
  • Provide immediate support
  • Assist to clarify options and choices available to you
  • Provide you with referral information for other services in your local area

To become a volunteer and give the gift of your time, click here.

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