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How do you help a friend overcome depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that can lead to emotional distress. It causes one to be sad and sometimes have suicidal thoughts. Some people…

Depression is a mental health disorder that can lead to emotional distress. It causes one to be sad and sometimes have suicidal thoughts. Some people do not know how to handle depression, neither do they know how to help a friend get out of depression. It is important to learn more about this condition so we can help our loved ones get the help they need.

There is a misconception that only poor people get depressed. That is not true because even the rich, educated, successful, and highly placed people in the society can get depressed. Depression could happen to anybody. People get sad and depressed when they feel inadequate, unfulfilled, and not content with their lives. It could be as a result of illness, loss of a loved one or anything at all.

However, these people who have become unhappy with their lives, sometimes need a friend. They need someone to comfort and assure them that everything will work out fine. They need to know they are not alone in their plights. So, how do people help a friend out of depression? LifeXtra takes a look.

Harry Okojie, a resident of Owerri, told LifeXtra that he is no stranger to depression. “Depression is not a new concept to me at all. And because I know this, I know it is not a pleasant experience. I was once depressed after I graduated from school, served and started job hunting. I thought things would get better, but they didn’t. I won’t lie to you; life was hard for me then. It took the grace of God and that of my friend, who is now my wife, to help me out of that state of depression.

“So, whenever I notice a friend of mine is depressed, I talk to the person and try to see if I can help them solve the problem that makes them so sad. The truth is that sometimes words are not enough to console a person. That person wants a solution and I will try my best to proffer a solution to that problem,” he said.

Kemi Olarinde, who resides in Kwara, told LifeXtra that people in that situation usually need comforting words. “If I notice that my friend is depressed, I will ask them what the problem is. I think that is the first step. After this, if it is something I can help with, I will help. But if I can’t help, maybe it is a financial issue; I will talk to the friend. I will talk because depressed people need to feel loved and supported. They have lost hope at that point and it is my job to restore that hope,” she said.

Gloria Mustapha said “This is one very sensitive matter that people don’t pay attention to in Nigeria. I say it is sensitive because depressed people can decide to take their lives if the pain they feel becomes too much for them. It is a very serious issue. So, if I notice this with a friend. I will make sure they are never alone. I will ask them what the problem is and try to help them with it. I will make myself available to make them feel better. Talking helps a lot, so I will make sure I talk to that person a lot. There are also support groups they can join, although this is not common in Nigeria. Being there for them is very important,” she said.

George Eze, an Abuja-based artist, told LifeXtra that he will talk to the person. “Dealing with depressed people takes a lot of patience and understanding. This is because people get depressed for different reasons. And some people are more fragile than others. This is where patience and understanding come in. You have to be on alert to spot suicidal tendencies in people. Some people who are depressed will never think of taking their lives, that doesn’t mean they are not depressed. They are just stronger mentally than people who think of taking their lives. This is why we need a better healthcare system in Nigeria. If I had a depressed friend, I would talk to the person. I will also make them understand that I will always be there for them. If the reason for their depression is money or anything I can fix, I will fix that problem and continue to check up, on them. If it is something I can’t fix, I will get more help medically so that I don’t lose my friend,” he said.

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