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 | By Cynthia Kaan

I’m afraid my friend might be depressed

Depression can be a sensitive topic for those who struggle, as well as for those who care about the struggling. How can we help?

Recognize depression in the sudden withdrawal from friends and otherwise typical habits, along with a sense of extreme weariness. Cancelled plans and repeated refrains of “not feeling well” may also be red flags. Gently ask if they would like someone to accompany them to a doctor appointment. Do not push if they decline.

Show up. Those who are in the thick of it can’t, or won’t, ask for help. Calling, texting or popping over with coffee or a meal are great ways to remain a steady presence.

Resist the urge to “fix it.” Depression is a journey one travels without consent; there is no quick fix and nothing to be fixed by someone else. An outstretched hand that never tires is a great way to offer support.

Do not take it personally. You are not to blame, nor should you add to the hurt by suggesting so.

Hold them close in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to provide opportunities to shed Christ’s light over their current darkness.

Like most things, depression is not one size fits all. Not each suggestion will work for everyone. The important thing is to BE THERE. Jesus made love a verb – follow his lead.