How to help a depressed friend of co-worker

Simply bringing up the subject won’t make things worse.

Friends, family, and co-workers are well positioned to help spot depression in men, and can become an integral part of their recovery.

It can be difficult for a man with depression to reach out for a hand. Here are some simple ways you can help.

1. Let him know you are there

Try starting the conversation with comments about specific changes in his mood or behaviour that you’ve noticed, rather than suggesting he might be depressed. He might not be ready to talk, so let him know you’re there when he might be ready.

2. Be ready to listen

For a lot of guys, it’s hard to open up to another person, so let him know that you’re open to whatever he has to say. Be empathic, open-minded, and non-judgemental.

3. Encourage efforts toward recovery

Recovering from depression can be a frustrating and difficult process, but you can be a reliable source of strength and support for him. Remind him that recovery is possible and that whatever steps he manages to take are worth the effort.

4. Help shoulder the weight

Help out with small things to get him through the day. For example, you can help out at work, or school, arrange to get groceries together, or help with other chores.

5. Encourage him to see a doctor or other health professional

As a supporter, your role isn’t to diagnose or provide treatment. If he hasn’t already, encourage him to consult a doctor. You may want to offer to make an appointment for him or help him with transport.

If you don’t know which services to suggest, call a health line or search online to learn about options and services where you live.

6. Let him know about HeadsUpGuys

We’ve gathered a lot of solid tips and resources for men who are battling depression. Pointing a guy you’re concerned about to could be a turning point in his recovery.

7. Help him stay socially connected

When depressed, guys tend to withdraw and isolate themselves. Unfortunately, this often leads to feeling more isolated and alone. Invite him out for coffee or something else he might enjoy. Take care of the planning, so he can focus on just showing up.

8. Set limits on what you are able to provide

Remind yourself there’s a limit to the support you can offer, and that you can’t be expected to fill the role of a health professional. If things become overwhelming and you need a break, be honest. Let him know what’s going on and work toward a more sustainable level of support.

HeadsUpGuys is a website specifically designed to help fight depression in men. Our site features practical tips, information about professional services and stories of recovery. It also has a self-check that can help determine whether or not depression may be affecting you.

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