The Sounds of Advice #29: Signs of Depression and How to Help

How can we spot signs of depression in someone and how to help if you spot them?

Aisling: 1. If someone you know suddenly becomes withdrawn and sometimes irritable over things that don't usually bother them. 
2. They may seem tired all the time & prefer to be left alone most of the time. 
3. If their appetite changes drastically. They could either barely be eating or eating way more than usual by seeking food as comfort.

Sandy: Depression in others can be hard to see if you aren't sure what to look for. For my depression I don't want to do anything, won't want to hang out with anyone or talk really. Everyone is different though. However the biggest sign is people just pulling away from others. Not talking or really wanting to hang out. Some people even find that the things they love are just Ehhh to them when they are depressed. However, if you aren't sure if someone is. Ask them questions about what they like (if you may not know them well) see if they want to go do anyone of those things and if not find out why. Severe depression can lead to suicide and no one wants to hear that someone die from that.

Kate:  The first thing is knowing what the signs are and understanding that they can manifest in everyone differently. If you notice someone you're close to is acting strangely, it might be the first indication that something is wrong. Talk to them, but don't belittle their feelings. Be there for them. Everyone is going to need help differently. They may not know what you can do to help, but let them know that you are there for them and will do whatever you can to help. If you're concerned about them, tell someone you trust.

Signs of Depression:
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Fatigue and decreased energy
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Irritability, restlessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Overeating or appetite loss
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

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