how to love your friends with depression

With 16.2 million American suffering from depression, you're bound to have at least one friend who struggles with it. Here's a simple list of 10 ways you can show them that you care!

1. Encourage them when they're struggling

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Maybe you noticed they are spending a lot of extra time in their room, crying or sleeping, or simply just not themselves. Encourage them by letting them know you support them and care about them. Offering encouraging words is always helpful!

2. Check in on them- even on their good days

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While we don't often think of it, it's important to check in on your friend even when they appear to be doing well. It is very easy to conceal some of our worst emotions and so a simple "how was your day?" text might be the opening to a real conversation with them about how they're truly feeling.

3. Plan things with them

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One of the best ways to show your depressed friend you care is by planning things with them! It can be going shopping, going out for lunch, or even as simple as grabbing coffee or just going on a quick drive to get gas. Going on a walk is also a great idea because being outside can be so helpful! Whatever you decide to do, spending time with them shows you're thinking about them and want to be around them even on their worst of days.

4. Give lots of hugs

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Sometimes a hug is the best medicine! Having open arms can sometimes mean more than words. So always offer a tight squeeze if they look like they might need one!

5. Go to church with them

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This one is super important! Going to church alone can be hard for your friend. If you personally are not a church goer and they are, maybe give it a shot! If not, it's important to encourage them to do go, because faith plays a huge part in their life and they're sure to feel a little better by spending some time in God's Word and receiving His gifts.

6. Pray for them

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I personally love this one because it's so simple, and they might not even know you're doing it for them! Pray for peace, comfort and strength for you friend. Prayer is so powerful!

7. Do some research

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Mental health can be so hard to understand, especially if you personally do not struggle with a mental illness. Doing your research not only gives you some better insight, but it also helps defeat stigma! Depression is more than having a bad day here and there, it's all about those chemical imbalances! Check out different organizations and medical websites so you can better understand your friend's battles.

For more information I suggest: Mental Health America

8. Encourage treatment

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It can often be difficult to admit we need help. If your friend doesn't see a therapist or counselor, maybe make some suggestions. If they are on medication, it might be nice to remind them to take their meds if they are often forgetful. However, don't be overbearing and assume their bad days are because they didn't take them! Personally, I find it nice when my friends ask how my therapy appointment went and how I'm feeling afterwards.

9. Listen to them

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Another easy one! Being a good listener is incredibly important and lets your friend know they're being heard. Sometimes you don't need to say anything at all, just simply offer your time and maybe a shoulder to cry on. This will be so appreciated by your friend, especially when they're struggling.

10. Be patient and forgiving

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Poor mental health can sometimes get the best of us and we might be quick to act on our temporary emotions. It can be easy to want to shut people out or get angry at the people that love us most. Sometimes there will be long periods of time when we can't seem to get ourselves back on track, and that's why it is so important to be patient. And if your friend is quick to act on poor emotions, be compassionate and remember that they have a lot of battles going on. Talk it out and always be ready to forgive. Your big heart is what makes you an amazing friend!

For a more inclusive look at my life with depression, check out my blog: Depressed And Blessed.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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