6 things to do when a friend shares with you that they are depressed

Bravo has a show called, Southern Charm. In it, a cast member confided in her friend that she was suffering from depression. The clip is attached below.

I was asked by Bravo about how to support a friend who is depressed or perhaps even suicidal. Here is the link.

If someone you know is depressed and shares that with you, keep in mind how vulnerable that person feels. Sharing feelings of anxiety or depression is not common. We are taught to be happy, be in a good mood, work hard, stay positive and be strong. However, there is a great deal of strength in sharing our vulnerabilities with another person.

Here are 6 things that you can do when a friend shares his or her vulnerability with you:

1) The best thing you can do is listen with an open heart.

2) Notice how the information makes you feel.

3) Share that you are listening and (if you are) happy that your friend is no longer keeping his/her depression bottled up.

4) Encourage your friend to seek professional support. That may come in the form of a therapist, a clergy person, a teacher, a parent or a support group.

5) Remember, you don’t have to solve or fix anything. Sometimes listening is all anyone needs.

6) Most important, if you are worried about your friend or fear that he/she may harm his/herself, you have every right and should, reach out to a professional yourself and find out what to do. You too may need support after hearing difficult information. In order to help anyone else, we must first be able to support ourselves.