Depression is something that many people experience. People go through it for many different reasons and there is no simple solution. If you know someone struggling with depression, you've probably worried about them and wondered how you can help.
Talking to someone with depression can be hard because you never know what the cause is or how much it has affected them. Try to talk to the person affected while they are alone. If you're not very good friends with them, but you've picked up on how down they seem, try texting them, and see what happens from there. If you are friends with them, tell them you're concerned and that you're there if they need someone to talk to.
When talking to the person who is struggling, remember you should never try to sort out their problems by yourself. If they need to rant and you're fine with them opening up to you, that's good, but never take their responsibilities into your own hands. Suggesting professional help is the only thing to do if the situation requires advice. If they need help, suggest talking to a helpline. This way, it can be anonymous and they don’t have to feel vulnerable.
Don't let their depression be a secret between the two of you. If you go to school with them, try telling a teacher or an adult whom you can trust. Since they've lived longer, adults probably have more experience and can help!
Try to engage in activities with the person who is upset. Being depressed can often be because people are too often trapped doing the same things over and over. Take them shopping, to see a movie (not a sad one!) or even just out for lunch. Make sure you let them know that you enjoy spending time with them and that if they want to talk about things face to face they can, but don't force them to talk.
Depression is something that should ALWAYS be taken seriously. It doesn't matter how small people's problems are, or if they even have a problem. Judging someone for being sad doesn't help someone get happier.
One of the most important things to remember is that you should never compare yourself to them. From the outside, their life may seem much better than yours, but everyone is fighting their own battle and telling them yours is harder doesn't make them feel any better - if anything, they will just feel guilty that you're helping them and feel like they are a burden.
If you're reading this and you're the one struggling with depression, know that it will get better. Don't ever feel like you're a waste of space, you're not, and people will willingly help you if you let them know what's wrong. Keep your head up and know that the world loves you. We are all here to help!
If you or a friend is suffering from depression and need somebody to talk to, click here for a list of international helplines.