How to help a mate with depression

Depression can be the result of your reaction to personal circumstances and sometimes it can just result from your biological make-up.

Here are just some of the signs that you or a mate might be suffering from depression. Remember, everyone is different and might not be experiencing all of these symptoms. Keeping an eye on your family, friends and yourself can help you tackle depression early on.

Common signs of depression:

  • feeling antisocial
  • being unproductive
  • feeling withdrawn
  • feeling irritable
  • feeling low in confidence
  • experiencing extreme tiredness, and
  • experiencing significant weight loss or gain.

What should you do if you think a mate is depressed?

Sometimes, people suffering with depression desperately need someone to talk to.

Before initiating a conversation with someone you think might need some extra help, make sure that you:

  • Are ready – have you got the time to really listen?
  • Are prepared – are you prepared for a potentially emotional conversation?
  • Pick a good time – is the person busy? If so, arrange for a time to come back.
  • It might help to talk during a task or an activity – shoulder to shoulder not face to face.

When starting a conversation with a mate, consider these tips:

  • Ask open questions, such as “how have you been going?” and mention why you are concerned.
  • Fully listen and acknowledge what they say, and encourage them to explain their feelings.
  • Encourage them to take action, no matter how small and let them know that you are there for support.
  • Follow up with them and see what else you can do to help.

To hear from a farmer who has battled with and overcome depression, watch Steve’s story.