On July 20th, Chester Bennington, the lead singer of famed punk rock band Linkin Park, took his own life. Immediately, many were left wondering, “How did this happen?” Today, mental health is in the news more than ever and there are numerous resources for those struggling with depression. So once again we ask, “How did this happen?”

Though the answer is certainly not a simple one, many believe it still has to do with the stigma associated with mental health and depression, and people’s unwillingness to address the issue, especially when faced with it head on. In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, we’re sharing a few tips on how you can help someone struggling with depression get the help they need.

  1. Listen to their feelings without judgment. If your friend asks to talk to you, be there for them and listen attentively. While it can be tempting to offer advice, the best thing to do is to just listen to their feelings and ask if there is any way you can help them.
  2. Get informed. Depression and mental health issues are in the public eye more than ever. But there is still a lot that people don’t know and understand about depression, so it’s best to read up on the subject or speak to a professional.
  3. Let them know you’re worried about them. People who are depressed often feel like no one cares about them. Telling your friend that you care and are worried about losing them can make them feel valued.
  4. Offer hope. Share stories of hope and recovery, as well as reassurance that things will get better if they seek help.
  5. Ask if they’re experiencing thoughts of suicide. One of the most difficult, but important, questions to ask a friend is if they’re planning on hurting or killing themselves. If they express that they’re feeling suicidal, get immediate help.
  6. Encourage them to get help. It’s so important that people with depression get help as soon as possible. Encourage your friend to speak with a therapist or even their general practitioner. If they prefer to speak to someone anonymously, give them the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 1-(800)-273-8255.

Believe it or not, the things you don’t say are often just as important as the things you do say. If a friend tells you that they’re struggling with depression, you should not:

  1. Minimize their feelings by encouraging them to “get over it.”
  2. Tell them these feelings will pass on their own.
  3. Tell them stories of other people who have it worse than them.
  4. Discourage medication or other treatments that are prescribed or encouraged by trained professionals.

If you’re feeling lost, depressed, suicidal, like a burden to others, or unhappy, reach out to a professional today.

For patients receiving treatment at CIRCLE CARE Center, we offer a wide range of one-on-one and group counseling services in a variety of areas.