Knowing how to talk to your friends about depression can be an overwhelming process. The initial discomfort of talking to your friends about depression is worth overcoming because it can often lead to high rewards. Connecting with friends can be an integral part of getting out of a depressive state. Talking to your friends about depression will usually strengthen your connection with others and can help provide you with an authentic community.
Get the Conversation Started
Talking to friends about depression can be challenging. Feelings of nervousness are normal and expected, especially if you have never talked about the subject with them before. If your anxiety about the conversation is preventing you from starting it, it can be helpful to send your friend a text letting them know that you have something important to discuss with them the next time you’re together.
While text can be a great way to initiate the conversation, don’t try to have the conversation just over text. In-person communication leads to the greatest levels of understanding and connection. If you can’t formulate how to talk to your friends on your own, use Mental Health America’s fill in the blank letter to get started.
Be Prepared To Answer Questions
Your friends will likely have many questions. You’ll be more comfortable talking to your friends about depression if you enter the conversation prepared to answer their questions. The National Institute of Mental Health’s explanation of what you need to know about depression is a great resource for explaining depression to those whose understanding and experience with the topic are limited.
While providing your friends with general information is important, they will be interested in your personal experience. Taking Mental Health America’s depression screening test and providing your friends with your results is a great way to discuss how it affects you personally.
When and Where to Talk to Your Friends About Depression
There is no perfect time to discuss your mental health, but you do need enough time. Make sure you allow adequate time to have an in-depth conversation in which neither you or your friend will need to speed through the discussion. Ideally, you’ll want to set aside at least an hour to talk about depression with your friend. If an hour isn’t possible, we suggest thirty minutes as the minimum time.
Additionally, meet in a space where you will feel comfortable sharing. Pick somewhere with minimum background noise. If you’re not comfortable sharing in a public space, plan to meet at your home. The important thing is that both you and your friend are able to be fully present and remain undistracted by your surroundings or time limitations.
Ask Your Friends to Encourage You in Your Treatment
Your friends must understand that you’re not looking for them to cure you. What you need are strong connections to a network of friends who will encourage you as you seek treatment. Your friends need to understand that you don’t need to be “fixed”; you need to be supported.
When you talk to your friends about depression, plan healthy mood-boosting activities together. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), regular exercise can have a positive impact on your mental health. Ask your friends to encourage you in your treatment by sharing activities with you such as going for walks, yoga class, or cooking together.
Click here to learn more about how to use exercise to treat depression.
Stand Up to Mental Health Stigmas by Talking to Your Friends About Depression
Being transparent about how depression affects your life educates people about mental health. When people who don’t struggle with depression see how the illness affects the lives of those about whom they care, it reduces the stigma around mental health.
Depression doesn’t define who you are, but it does affect everything you do. This isn’t your fault, and it doesn’t mean you can’t be a wonderful friend. It just means you have to understand your limitations and work within them.
Mid City TMS Offers Depression Treatment
Your friend’s role in your experience with depression is to serve as support. We want to offer you treatment for depression. Mid City TMS offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as part of our comprehensive depression treatment programs. This form of depression therapy is a non-convulsive, non-invasive treatment performed on patients with depression while they’re awake. TMS is fast, painless, and has been proven to be effective. Contact us to learn more about how TMS can alleviate your depression.