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Health & Fit‘Depression traffic lights’ method can help you spot a friend who’s struggling

00:45  31 august  2019
00:45  31 august  2019 Source:   wellandgood.com

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Learn how to support someone who is depressed while keeping your own life on track. These feelings are all normal. It’ s not easy dealing with a friend or family member’ s depression . You can help them to cope with depressions symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy

When I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 15, I was lucky enough to have friends who supported me no matter what I was going through. They loved me when I didn’t love myself, and I will always be grateful to them for that.

I've had, oh, a whole lot of trouble helping certain loved ones understand when I'm feeling depressed, and perhaps my personal experiences with being blue have helped me develop an ability to identify when someone else is struggling. Even so, I know it's not always easy to communicate just how severe depression levels may be. Luckily, there's a method that can help.

‘Depression traffic lights’ method can help you spot a friend who’s struggling© Photo: Getty Images/Matthias Makarinus Depression levels are clearer using the traffic light method

A recent Instagram post by Australian advocacy organization The Depression Project points to the Depression Traffic Light framework for identifying depression levels. The zones are pretty straightforward: Green indicates mild symptoms, where you're floating by; orange indicates moderate symptoms, where you're treading against the waves; and red is when the sufferer is in the whirlpool. The framework helps people identify and express what they're experiencing. And, in addition to providing a tool to people who are struggling with feelings of depression, it can help advocates and loved ones know how to help someone they believe to be suffering.

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Your friend might need professional help to manage their stress, feel better about themselves, or to help with issues like depression , eating disorders, or anxiety. It can be hard to start a conversation with a friend who is struggling . The main thing to remember is to be supportive and not judgmental.

If you are personally struggling with anxiety or mild depression , please read this and know there are many people who have walked this road and made it to the other side. Here are 8 ways you can help a friend who struggles with depression

Let's say you're in the latter camp as a loved one or advocate for someone who seems to exhibit symptoms of depression: How can you help? No matter the depression levels in question, much of being a successful advocate means ensuring you talk and listen in ways that are supportive—but knowing whether talking or listening is the best first route is where the colors really come in handy.

When someone's in the green zone, for example, you may not even notice at first—that's why asking is key if things feel off. "If you notice a friend with mild symptoms, do your best to draw them out," says psychotherapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW. "Feel free to mention that they seem a bit subdued, and ask how they are doing."

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Who can say that they have skipped through life with no bumps in the road? No matter what your circumstances, chances are you ’ve gone through a rough Your friend may be in a downward spiral of self-hate, self-doubt and that voice in their head will probably have nothing positive to say about them.

21. “My best friend who knows me so well said: ‘ You ’re the strongest person I’ve ever known.’ She knew my struggle with depression (and bipolar) but she still thinks I’m strong.” — Olivia F. What’ s the best text or encouraging message you ’ve gotten from a friend ? Tell us in the comments below.

The yellow zone is a bit easier to spot, based on typical behavior. "They're likely going to have a hard time 'faking it', and their negative thoughts, hopelessness, and sadness is probably going to emerge," Hartstein adds. "The best thing to do for this friend is make it clear that you are happy to listen. You can also ask them if there’s anything special that they need from you." Rather than dead-end questions like "are you okay?" and "what's wrong?" ask something more specific, like "you seem like you're struggling recently—would you like to talk about it?" or "what can I do to help?"

Then there comes the red zone; severe depression requires a very different approach, and more often than not, the intervention of a professional. With this depression level, the person suffering often feels hopeless, paralyzed, and perhaps even suicidal. The first order of business for helping this person is to identify if that's a currently a risk.

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Hidden Depression: Is Perfectionism To Blame? People who suffer from intense perfectionism would never be able to outdo themselves or live up to their own unrealistic expectations. As a result, most of them suffer from depression. Hidden Depression For most people however, “depression” doesn’t make sense. After all, people who are depressed often lack energy or the will to do anything. They’re mostly withdrawn, noticeably sad or are just not there most of the time.

So it seems like your friend may be struggling with some symptoms of depression , what should you do now? Playing video games with your friend , going to see a movie together, or meeting for pizza could help your friend out of unhealthy isolation.

Helping a friend who is battling depression is hard work. If your friend has depression , you can help them by encouraging them to talk to a doctor, since depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance "I have a friend that struggles with depression and I have never known how to help her.

"It might be a little uncomfortable, but if a friend seems to be intensely depressed, you can ask them if they have suicidal thoughts," Hartstein says. "If they say yes and if they have a plan, you should either contact their family, or take it upon yourself to get them to a therapist or an ER."

If not, close monitoring might still be advised. According to Hartstein, a person in this kind of depression zone needs extra kindness and encouragement to get out of bed, eat, get to work, and get professional help. While this person can use whatever amount of help and attention you're comfortable offering, be sure not to put your own mental health and well-being at risk by overextending yourself.

So rather than just assuming someone is okay, asking where in the zones they may be is your actual first step for helping someone. From there, you at least have an idea of how to proceed. No matter what, though, it always helps to hug people extra hard (if they want a hug) and check in about their mental health status...regardless of whether any lights are flashing.

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‘Depression traffic lights’ method can help you spot a friend who’s struggling

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Parents Are Having A Hard Time Identifying Depression In Teens, Poll Says .
40 percent of the parents surveyed said they had a hard time telling normal mood swings apart from depression symptoms. Another 30 percent of the respondents also said they thought their teen was “good at hiding [their] feelings.”Poll co-director Sarah Clark said in a release that the changes “both in youth behavior and in the dynamic between parents and children” can definitely make it harder to get a clear picture of where your child’s mental health is at.

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