A little support goes a long way

How to talk to peers about depression

More by Libby Sullivan
Libby Sullivan

More stories from Libby Sullivan

His Last Stand
April 1, 2017

In today’s society, figure of speech and exaggerations of common phrases have introduced a new norm. “Teen” language has introduced a whirlpool of acronyms and slang that, while often hilarious, have also created a barriers for people for people suffering from depression or anxiety. Phrases like “I just wanna die” or “kill me” have become common conversational phrases that make students incapable of of talking to their friends about the problems they face.

First: Notice the Signs

Not everyone feels comfortable with coming forward about their depression or anxiety. Some people struggling with anxiety may experience a sudden change in their mood, agitation, excessive crying and fluctuations in weight. Recognizing signs of depression could prevent friends and peers from feeling alone in their battle against suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

Second: Just Listen

In a world of self-consumed teenagers, finding the right person to talk to can turn into a task. Do not push away a friend or peer just because they bring up a topic typically deemed uncomfortable, just learn to shut up and listen. Offering an open ear and a nod every now and again could completely change an at-risk persons perspective; and remember, just because someone wants to talk about their problems does not mean they necessarily want advice. Some people just need to vent.

Third: Offer Comfort, Not a Change of Perspective

When a person chooses to confide in someone about their depression, they do not want to hear their problems are insignificant. When someone obviously reaches out for help, do not change their perspective of their problems by saying someone else has it worse; reach out to them and explain how they always have friends to lean on and a friend to confide in.

Fourth: A Little Confidence Goes a Long Way

Simply reassuring someone that they matter and attempting to boost their self-confidence goes a long way. Offer the person a shoulder to cry on or an open ear, but remember to also mention the joys of life. Try to make future plans with the person to check up on them and ensure their safety.

Fifth: Find Help

Not all problems will immediately be solved from one talk. Sometimes a person has hid their depression for so long, simply talking will not offer all the solace they need. First, talk to the friend about finding an adult, and try to ease the idea of getting outside help onto them. Once they agree, find a trustworthy adult to reevaluate the situation. If talking to an adult causes alarm, try to find other peers to talk to to help them learn to confide in someone.